The following is the chronology of events in the Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya in which the Supreme Court recently declined to refer the issue of reconsideration of its observation that mosque wars not integral to Islam, to a larger bench.
1528: Commander of Mughal emperor Mir Baqi built Babri Masjid
1885: Raghubir Das filed plea in a district court to seek permission to build a canopy outside the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed site. Court rejected his plea.
1949: Ram Lalla Idols were placed under a central dome outside the disputed structure.
1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court to get rights to worship the Ram Lalla idols.
1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files suit to continue worship and keep the idols.
1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit to seek possession of the site.
1981: Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit to get possession of the site.
1986: The government gets order from the Local court to open the site for Hindu worshippers.
1989: Allahabad High Court ordered maintenance of status quo regarding the disputed structure.
1992, 1993, 1994
December 6, 1992: Demolition of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure.
April 3, 1993: In the disputed area, ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for acquisition of land by Centre. Numerous writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed in Allahabad High Court challenging various aspects of the Act. Supreme Court exercising its jurisdiction under Article 139A transferred the writ petitions, which were pending in the HC.
October 24, 1994: In the Ismail Faruqui case, Supreme Courts said that mosque was not integral to Islam.
April 2002: Allahabad High Court starts to hearing on determining who owns the disputed place.
March 13, 2003: In the Aslam alias Bhure case, Supreme Court said that no religious activity be allowed at the acquired land.
March 14, 2003: Supreme Court said that interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.
2010, 2011, 2016
September 30, 2010: Allahabad HC ruled three-way division of disputed land between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
May 9, 2011: Supreme Court stays Allahabad HC judgement on Ayodhya land dispute.
Feb 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in Supreme Court to seek Ram Temple’s construction at the disputed site.
March 21, 2017: Chief Justice of India JS Khehar suggested out-of-court settlement among opposing parties.
August 7, 2017: SC constitutes a bench of three judges to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
August 8, 2017: UP Shia Central Waqf Board told Supreme Court that mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
September 11, 2017: SC directed Allahabad HC Chief Justice to nominate two more district judges.
November 20, 2017: UP Shia Central Waqf Board told Supreme Court that temple could be built in Ayodhya and mosque in Lucknow.
December 1, 2017: Thirty-two civil rights activists filed plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
February 8, 2018: Supreme Court began hearing the civil appeals.
March 14, 2018: SC rejects all interim pleas
April 6, 2018: Rajeev Dhavan filed plea in SC to mention the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.
July 6, 2018: UP government told Supreme Court some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 judgement.
July 20, 2018: Supreme Court reserved judgment.
September 27, 2018: SC declined to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench.
October 29, 2018: SC fixed the case for the first week of Jan. before a bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing.
November 12, 2018: SC declined early hearing of petitions in the case requested by Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.
November 22, 2018: SC dismissed PIL seeking direction to organisations and public to behave and not air their views that can ruin the atmosphere till it decides the title dispute case.
December 24, 2018: Supreme Court decided to take up petitions on case for hearing on January 4.
January 4, 2019: SC said that a bench constituted by it would pass an order on Jan. 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the title case.
January 8, 2019: SC set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the case headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S A Bobde, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud and N V Ramana.
January 10, 2019: Justice U U Lalit recused himself prompting SC to rearrange the hearing for Jan. 29 before a new bench.
January 25, 2019: Supreme Court reconstituted a 5-member Constitution Bench to hear the case. The new bench comprised Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
January 27, 2019: Supreme Court cancelled the Jan. 29 hearing due to non-availability of Justice S A Bobde.
January 29, 2019: Centre moved SC seeking permission to return the 67-acre acquired land around the disputed site to original owners.
February 20, 2019: Supreme Court decided to hear the case on Feb. 26.
February 26, 2019: Supreme Court favoured mediation, fixed March 5 for order on whether to refer matter to court-appointed mediator.
March 6, 2019: Supreme Court reserved order on whether the land dispute could be settled through mediation.
March 8, 2019: Supreme Court sent the dispute for mediation by a panel headed by former apex court judge F M I Kallifulla, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu
August 2, 2019: Efforts to mediate a final settlement between rival Hindu and Muslim parties in the Ayodhya title dispute cases failed. A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that Court to hear appeals from August 6 on a regular basis. Ayodhya mediation was close to a settlement.
August 6, 2019: Constitution Bench started hearing the cross-appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the three-way partition of the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board.
August 7, 2019: “Whether Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Has such a question ever arisen in any court,” asked Justice S.A. Bobde; Complete faith is proof of the birthplace of Rama, said Ram Lalla‘s lawyer.
August 8, 2019: Can birthplace be considered a ‘juristic person’, asks Supreme Court.
August 9: Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who appeared for a Muslim party, said he would not be able to assist the court if the hearing is rushed through.
August 13, 2019: We’re in no hurry to finish Ayodhya hearing, says Supreme Court.
August 14, 2019: Supreme Court poses queries to the counsel of Hindu parties.
August 16, 2019: Prove that Babri Masjid was built over a temple, SC told Hindu parties.
August 19, 2019: No hearing as constitution bench judge unavailable.
August 20, 2019: Inscription on mosque slab spoke of Vishnu temple, SC told.
August 21, 2019: Present evidence on temple claim, SC told lawyers.
August 22, 2019: Hindus have a right to worship at a site believed to be the Lord Ram’s birthplace, appellant Gopal Singh Visharad told court.
August 23, 2019: Respond to Ayodhya case judge’s protection plea, SC told U.P. Nirmohi Akhara quizzed on rights to Ayodhya site.
August 27, 2019: Nirmohi Akhara dropped objection to a separate suit for title filed by the Ayodhya deity.
August 28, 2019: Babur may not have built Babri Masjid, SC told.
August 30, 2019: Emperor Babur was an invader and law could not be used to “institutionalise” the rights of an invader, the Hindu Mahasabha argues; Shia Waqf Board questioned claim of Sunni section over the disputed land.
September 3, 2019: Idol installation inside Babri Masjid on the night of December 22-23 of 1949, which marked the beginning of heightened tensions and legal battle, was a furtive attack, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan claimed.
September 4, 2019: Hindus and Muslims alike used to worship in the mosque-temple, Rajeev Dhavan told SC. SC to look into litigant’s complaint of intimidation.
September 6, 2019: CJI to hear plea for live-streaming of Ayodhya title dispute case
September 14: A devotee’s faith cannot be questioned, said Supreme Court
September 17, 2019: Hindu parties’ arguments based on theology rather than legality and concrete proof, said Rajeev Dhavan
September 18, 2019: Ram Chabutra became the focal point in Ayodhya hearing.
Supreme Court allowed mediation committee to resume talks.
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