Headline : Explained: The 67 acres in Ayodhya
- The central government is seeking to return “excess/superfluous land” from the 67.703 acres it acquired in Ayodhya in 1993 to the original owners.
- To this end, it has moved to the Supreme Court asking to allow the return of land.
- After the demolition of Babri Masjid, the central government passed Acquisition of Certain Areas of Ayodhya Act, 1993 under which the government acquired 67.703 acres of land.
- The plinth area of the structure demolished in 1992 was only on a 0.313 acre plot (which was within the disputed premises of 2.77 acre).
- The government also acquired 67.390 acre of “non-disputed” acquired land around the disputed land.
- 42 acres of the acquired 67 acres of land belongs to Ram Janmbhoomi Vyas.
- The land acquisition was challenged in the Court but the SC in the M Ismail Faruqui Vs Union of India case in 1994, gave the following rulings:
- It upheld the Constitutional validity of the land acquisition act.
- It established that the disputed area is limited to just 0.313 acres where the disputed structure stood before its demolition.
- It also held that the area acquired in excess of 0.313 acres disputed land shall be reverted back to its original owners once the case is disposed of.
- It also gave the government the right to determine the extent of the “extra land required around the disputed property” for the winning side to enjoy their rights.
- After the Faruqui ruling, the Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas had requested the government in 1996 to return the excess land but the government refused to accept the request as the suits related to disputed area were pending with the Allahabad High Court.
- Further, in 2003, the Supreme Court in Mohd Aslam alias Bhure’s case held that the status quo has to be maintained till the Allahabad High Court disposes of the case.
- The Allahabad High Court delivered its judgment in 2010, in which it divided the disputed 2.77 acres of land, equally among the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and Ramlalla Virajman.
- Now, the Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to return the excess land of the 67.703 acres acquired to its original owners.
- The Centre’s application is based on the contention that appeals in the Supreme Court is confined to the 0.313 cares disputed land only and hence, the excessive land shall be returned to the original owners.
- The government expressed willingness to determine the extent of extra land required to ensure enjoyment of full rights by the successful party in the case, as was ruled in 1994 Faruqui case.
- However, the government cannot take this step because of the 2003 judgement of the Supreme Court that ordered to maintain the status quo till the case is finally disposed of.
- Hence, with current move, the Centre has sought the modification of the Supreme Court’s order in 2003.
Note to students: There is no need to remember the information here for the exam. This is added as potentially useful for Personality Test and for general awareness.