The Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led five-member bench observed during the Ayodhya verdict that the Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land. The CJI who read the judgment said that excavations by the ASI suggest that there was an underlying structure which was "not of Islamic origin".
He said that artefacts discovered from the site reveal that there was a pre-existing non-Islamic structure. However, it is not clear if that structure was a temple. ASI has not specified that the underlying structure was a temple, stated CJI Gogoi.
The CJI observed that the ASI evidence cannot be neglected. "ASI evidence has to be evaluated. Value of archaeology cannot be diluted by laying a claim that it is weak evidence. Archaeology is a process as much as a deduction. To reject exercise as conjectural will be irresponsible. Arguments were made on archaeology report. Archaeological Survey of India's credentials are beyond doubt and its findings can't be neglected," he stated.
The Supreme Court, however, also noted that the act of placing idols under the central dome outside the disputed structure in 1949 was an act of desecration. The apex court also said that mere existence of structure under the disputed property is not enough claim to site. "In spite of existence of structure of the mosque, possession by Muslims cannot be said to be continued enough to attract adverse possession. The mere existence of structure under disputed property cannot lay claim to the disputed property."
The Supreme Court handed over the possession of the site to a trust that has the job of overseeing all matter of the Ram Mandir including its construction. The court directed the Centre to give a suitable 5-acre land within Ayodhya to build the mosque.
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