Beginning of Ram Janmabhoomi movement in Ayodhya – a timeline of events

Even as  preparations gathered momentum for the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya today, let’s take a look at the timeline of events of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in Ayodhya that started in 1885.

1528: Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.

1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. Court rejects plea.

1949: Idols of Ram Lalla placed under a central dome outside the disputed structure.

1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla and Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files suit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols.

1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.

1981: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.

February 1, 1986: Local court orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers.

August 14, 1989: Allahabad HC ordered maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.

December 6, 1992: Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure demolished.

April 3, 1993: ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for acquisition of land by Centre in the disputed area.

1993: Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed at Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act. – Supreme Court exercising its jurisdiction under Article 139A transferred the writ petitions, which were pending in the High Court.

October 24, 1994: Supreme Court said in the historic Ismail Faruqui case that a mosque was not integral to Islam.

April 2002: HC begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.

March 13, 2003: SC says, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.

March 14: SC says interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.

September 30, 2010: HC, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

May 9, 2011: SC stays HC verdict on Ayodhya land dispute.

February 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in SC seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.

March 21, 2017: CJI JS Khehar suggests out-of-court settlement among rival parties.

August 7: SC constitutes three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.

August 8: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.

September 11: SC directs Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC to nominate two additional district judges within ten days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.

November 20: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC temple can be built in Ayodhya and mosque in Lucknow.

December 1: Thirty-two civil rights activists file plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC. – Feb 8, 2018: SC starts hearing the civil appeals.

March 14: SC rejects all interim pleas, including Swamy’s, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.

April 6: Rajeev Dhavan files plea in SC to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.

July 6: UP government tells SC some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict.

July 20: Supreme Court reserves verdict.

September 27: SC declines to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. Case to be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29.

October 29: SC fixes the case for the first week of January next year before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing.

November 12: SC declines early hearing of petitions in the case requested by Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.

November 22: SC dismisses PIL seeking direction to organisations and public at large to “behave” and not air their views that can spoil the atmosphere till it decides the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

December 24: SC to take up petitions on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case for hearing on January 4.

January 4: SC says an appropriate bench constituted by it will pass an order on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the title case.

January 8: SC sets up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the case headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.

January 10: SC reschedules the hearing for January 29 before a new bench after Justice U U recused himself.

March 2019: The Supreme Court appoints a mediation panel headed by Judge (retd) FMI Kallifulla for an out-of-court settlement on March 8.

August 2019: The mediation panel fails to reach an amicable settlement. The Supreme Court begins hearing on August 6.

October 2019: After hearing the case on a day-to-day basis for 40 days, the court reserves its order on October 15.

October 16: After a marathon 40-day daily hearing, the SC concludes hearing in the case. It says that a verdict will be delivered by CJI Gogoi before his retirement on November 17, 2019.

November 8: The Supreme Court lists Ayodhya title suit judgment for November 9.

November 9, 2019: In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi orders that the disputed land in Ayodhya should be given to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas for construction of a temple, and the Muslim side should be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya for a mosque. The court also orders the central government to formulate a scheme within three months to implement the order

December 12: The Supreme Court dismissed review petitions challenging the November 9 verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute. “Applications for listing of review petitions in open Court are dismissed. We have carefully gone through the review petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever, to entertain the same. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed,” said the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde.

August 3, 2020: As the countdown for the grand ceremony of ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for the construction of the Ram temple began, Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha handed over the five acre land to the Sunni Waqf Board at Dhannipur village in Faizabad, as mandated by the Supreme Court in lieu of the Babri mosque.

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