The decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute case will be settled through mediation, the Supreme Court said on Friday, while constituting a three-member panel. The panel, to be headed by Retired Justice FM Kallifulla, will have Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Sriram Panchu.
Ayodhya dispute: Here is a timeline:
Babri Masjid built. Hindu groups claim it was built after demolishing a temple, but some scholars say that such "legends" did not arise until the 18th century.
Groups of Hindu priests and Muslim clerics clash--the first recorded incident of violence over the holy site.
Court dispute begins (1885)
Mahant Raghubir Das, a Hindu priest, files the first court case and seeks permission to build a canopy on the Ramchabutra (a raised platform) outside the mosque. Faizabad district court rejects his plea.
An idol of Ram Lala appears inside the mosque, allegedly planted by three Hindu men in the dark of a December night. Hindus offer prayers. Both sides file suits; the government declares the area as disputed and locks gates.
1950 to 1959
Two Hindu priests file suits before the Faizabad court seeking permission to offer prayers to Ram idols in the janamsthan (birthplace of Ram). While the inner courtyard remains locked, prayers are allowed. The Nirmohi Akhara files a third suit seeking possession of the site and claiming to be the custodians of Ram Janmabhoomi.
The Sunni Central Board of Waqf files a case against the placing of idols in the mosque, challenges claims that the building and surrounding land were once a graveyard.
Hindu groups form a committee to lead the construction of a Ram temple at the Janmabhoomi site. The temple movement gathers momentum under BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani.
Lawyer Umesh Chandra Pandey appeals before district and sessions judge that the Ram Janmabhoomi gates be unlocked on the grounds that the Faizabad district administration, and not a court, had ordered its closure. Court orders the government to open the Ram Janmabhonmi for "darshan and pooja".
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lays the foundation of a Ram temple on the land next to the Babri Masjid. A VHP leader files a case asking for the mosque to be shifted elsewhere.
Months before Lok Sabha elections, the Rajiv Gandhi government allows the VHP to perform shilanyas (laying of foundation stone) for a Ram temple.
BJP president Lal Krishna Advani goes on a Somnath-to-Ayodhya rath yatra to "educate people" about the movement to build a temple at the disputed site. Thousands of kar sevaks (volunteers) gather in Ayodhya. Mosque is partially damaged and 30 are killed in police firing.
BJP becomes the country's primary opposition party and comes into power in Uttar Pradesh. The momentum for the temple movement increases as kar sevaks pour into Ayodhya.
Kar sevaks demolish Babri Masjid, sparking riots across India in which an estimated 2,000 people were killed. Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao's government dismisses BJP governments in UP, MP, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
Ten days after the mosque was demolished, Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao sets up a commission of inquiry under retired judge Justice MS Liberhan.
A special court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case orders framing of charges against 49 accused, including senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh.
BJP forms a coalition government in Delhi.
VHP sets March 2002 as deadline for beginning the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
February 4, 2002
Under pressure from VHP, the Centre files an application in the Supreme Court for vacating the 'interim order' banning any religious activity in Ayodhya.
February 6, 2002
At least 59 people are killed when a train in Godhra in Gujarat which was carrying kar sevaks from Ayodhya is attacked. Riots erupt across Gujarat in which over 1,000 people are killed.
Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court begins hearings on determining who owns the Ayodhya site.
Prime Minister AB Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya cell to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders.
The Liberhan commission submits its report but its contents are not made public.
July 26, 2010
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court reserves its judgment and advises all parties to solve the issue amicably.
September 30, 2010
The High Court rules there be a three-way division of the disputed land: one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for Ram Lalla.
The Supreme Court suspends the High Court's ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appeal against it. The Muslim litigants demanded that the case should be heard by a larger bench of seven judges as it relates a land belonging to a mosque and thus has implications on the freedom of religion, a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.
Hindu and Muslim litigants meet to discuss a new proposal for resolution which they plan to put before the Supreme Court. The formula for settlement talks about the 70 acres of disputed site accommodating both mosque and temple, but it doesn't take off.
Supreme Court issues notices to BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi following a petition against dropping of conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Litigants meet twice again for settling the dispute amicably, but fail.
March 21, 2017
Supreme Court calls for an amicable settlement to dispute over who owns the site, saying the "sensitive and sentimental matter" is best settled out of court.
April 19, 2017
Supreme Court says senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others will be tried for conspiring to demolish Babri Masjid.
December 5, 2017
The Supreme Court decides to hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on February 8 next year. A special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justice Ashok Bhushan and justice S Abdul Nazeer assembled to hear a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. Judges also asked the advocates on record of appeals to sit together and ensure that all the requisite documents are translated, filed and numbered before the apex court registry.
July 20, 2018
The court concluded a series of arguments on the pleas challenging the 1994 verdict that mosque was not integral to Islam and to refer the Ayodhya dispute to a larger Constitution bench. The bench reserves verdict.
September 27, 2018
The Supreme Court declined to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of Ayodhya land dispute.
Friday 8, 2019
The Supreme Court on Friday said, the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute case will be settled through mediation, while constituting a three-member panel. The panel, to be headed by Retired Justice FM Kallifulla, will have Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Sriram Panchu.
The panel, which has been directed to begin mediation in Faizabad within one week, will have to submit a progress report after four weeks. The process would go on till eight weeks. The apex court directed in camera proceedings of mediation in the case, restraining media from reporting its proceedings.
(With inputs from agencies)