Will Ram Temple be built: Decoding the Centre’s application to return excess land
New Delhi, Jan 30: The Centre on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court
seeking permission to return 67 acres of land it had acquired around the disputed land in Ayodhya to the original owners.
The government had acquired 67 acres around the 2.77 acre disputed Ram Janmabhumi land. In an application, it sought permission to return the land to the original owners.
The application states that around 67 acres of land was acquired in all over 25 years back. Apart from the disputed land, which is around 0.133 acres, the rest can be returned to the owners, the application said.
The application stated, " it is respectfully submitted that the contemplated action of the Central Government to restore/revert/handover back the superfluous/excess land to their respective original owners/occupiers may not required to be linked with the outcome of the appeals. This is for the reason that irrespective of the outcome of the appeals, one thing is clear that the issues concerning the excess land acquired in 1993 cannot be and will not be done into and adjudicated in the said appeals which confines to the inter se claims regarding the disputed land measuring only 0.313 acres only."
In 1993, the Centre had acquired 67 acres of land around the disputed site, while stating that it was related to the dispute. The Supreme Court had upheld the acquisition in 1994. The court also ordered that the land shall remain with the Central government and shall not be released in anyone's favour until the dispute is decided.
In June 1996, the Nyas had asked the government to return the excess land, but the same was denied on the ground that it can be considered only after the suits relating to the disputed area are adjudicated by the Allahabad High Court.
In the Mohd Aslam @Bhure vs Union of India and others (March 31 2003), the court had said that in clear, categorical terms held hat the status quo has to be maintained only until the suits pending before the Allahabad High Court are disposed of.
The High Court in its verdict dated September 30 2010 divided the disputed land of 2.77 acres, including the spot where the Babri Masjid stood until December 6 1992 and the area around it equally between the Nimrohi Akhara, Sunni Central Wakf Board, Ramlalla Virajman and UP.
In its application on Tuesday the Centre asked the SC to let it "restore/revert/hand over back the superfluous/excess land" without linking this process "with the outcome of the... civil appeals" - this was because issues concerning the excess land acquired in 1993 "cannot be and will not be gone into and/or adjudicated in the said appeals which is confined to the inter se claims regarding the "disputed land" admeasuring 0.313 acres only".
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Sources tell OneIndia that the the court will need to consider its plea. The SC had previously noted that the acquisition was a temporary measure taken until the adjudication of the case.
The Centre said that while returning the excess land to the original owners including the Nyas, it would ensure that ultimate parties/party succeeding in the appeals can get proper access to and enjoyment of rights in the disputed land.
The Centre also went on to cite an earlier order in the Faruqui case, in which the Supreme Court said that if any land becomes superfluous, such land will have to be returned to the owner, who may have to initiate appropriate proceedings to challenge the validity of the acquisition.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad while welcoming the move that this is intended to signal the Modi's government's commitment to the Ram Temple cause in the wake of uncertainty looming large over when the Supremo Court would finally decide on the matter.