A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has begun hearing the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case today. Let's take a look at the various important developmennts in the case over the decades leading up to today.
Dome to doom
1528: Mughal emperor Babur constructs a mosque and it is named Babri
December 23, 1949: Lord Ram's idols are planted inside the central dome. Both sides file court cases; the site is locked
December 17, 1959: The Nirmohi Akhara files a suit seeking possession of the site and claims to be the custodians of the disputed land
December 18, 1961: The Sunni Central Board of Waqf files a suit claiming ownership of the site
1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launches a campaign for the construction of the Ram temple at the Janmabhoomi site
February 1, 1986: Faizabad district court orders the gates of the mosque be opened and Hindus be allowed to worship there. Muslims protest the move and forms Babri Mosque Action Committee
November 9, 1989: VHP lays the foundation of a Ram temple on land next to the Babri Masjid following permission from the then Rajiv Gandhi government
September 25, 1990: Then BJP President L K Advani launches his Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. He is arrested in Bihar’s Samastipur in November
December 6, 1992: The disputed Babri Mosque is razed to the ground by karsevaks
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April 2002: Three-judge Bench of high court begins hearing to determine the ownership of land. The HC orders the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate the site to determine if it was a temple earlier.
2003: ASI finds evidence of the presence of a temple under the mosque. Muslim organisations dispute the findings
September 30, 2010: The HC rules the disputed land be divided into three parts — one-third to Ram Lalla Virajman, represented by the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha; one-third to the Sunni Waqf Board; and the remaining to the Nirmohi Akhara. In December, the parties move the SC
May 2011: The SC stays the HC order
March 2017: The Supreme Court says charges against Advani and other leaders cannot be dropped in the demolition case and that the case may be revived
March 21, 2017: The SC says the matter is sensitive and suggests it be settled out of court. It asks stakeholders to hold talks and find an amicable solution
May 30, 2017: Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar charged with criminal conspiracy in the demolition case
August 11, 2017: The SC schedules hearing of 13 appeals in the title dispute on December 5, 2017, coinciding with the eve of the 25th anniversary of the desecration of the Babri mosque
Dec 5, 2017: The SC says it will hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on February 8
September 2018: The Supreme Court rejects the plea for a review of the 1994 Farooqui judgment but then clarifies that it would have no bearing on pending title suits.
October 2018: The Supreme Court decides that the land dispute case will only be listed before an “appropriate Bench” in January 2019. In what is seen as a setback to the BJP leaders pressing for a speedy disposal of the title suit, a Bench consisting Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph says, “the appropriate Bench will fix the schedule with regard to the hearing of appeals in the case”.
January 4, 2019: The Supreme Court defers hearing a bunch of petitions in the Ayodhya title dispute case till January 10. “Further orders will be passed by an appropriate bench on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing the matter,” the Bench says.
January 8, 2019: The Supreme Court sets up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the land dispute case.
January 10, 2019: A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court hears the Ayodhya land title dispute case, sets January 29 as the next date for hearing in the case.