The Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
In one of the most important and most anticipated judgements in India's history, a 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi put an end to the more than a century-old dispute that has torn the social fabric of the nation.
The apex court said the mosque should be constructed at a "prominent site" and a trust should be formed within three months for the construction of the temple at the site many Hindus believe Lord Ram was born.
The site was occupied by the 16th-century Babri mosque, built by Mughal empire's founder Babur, which was destroyed by Hindu kar sevaks on December 6, 1992.
"The lands of our country have witnessed invasions and dissensions. Yet they have assimilated into the idea of India everyone who sought their providence, whether they came as merchants, travellers or as conquerors," said the verdict.
"The history and culture of this country have been home to quests for truth, through the material, the political, and the spiritual. This Court is called upon to fulfil its adjudicatory function where it is claimed the two quests for the truth impinge on the freedoms of the other or violate the rule of law," it said.
The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said possession of the disputed 2.77-acre land rights will be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who is one of the three litigants in the case. The possession, however, will remain with a central government receiver.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress leader; Mahesh Jethmalani, senior advocate; Ashok Kumar Ganguly, a former judge of Supreme Court; Manisha Priyam, senior academic and political analyst; Aishwarya Bhati, SC lawyer; Wajahat Habibullah, former chairperson of National Commission for Minorities and Sharat Pradhan, the senior journalist shared their views and outlook about the verdict.