Babri Masjid title dispute: Akhara moves SC against land release

New Delhi: The Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties that got one-third of the disputed land in the Ayodhya temple title dispute, moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday opposing the Centre’s plea to release most of the 67.7 acres of acquired land, saying it cannot be given to anyone by the government.

Urging the apex court to decide on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute, the Akhara alleged a number of temples on the acquired land, managed by it, have been damaged.

Seeking restoration of six temples — Sumitra Bhawan, Sita Koop, Sita Koop Mandir, Dwarka Das Mandir, Temple Saligram Bhagwan and Lomas Temple — that were run by the Mahants belonging to it, the Akhara has stated they were demolished by then Kalyan Singh government after it acquired 2.77 acres in 1991.

The Akhara said though notifications by which 2.77 acres, which also included 0.313 acres of the disputed site on which these seven temples were located, were quashed but despite the court’s order the razed temples were never restored.

Telling the court that the Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas, to which the Centre intends to return 42 acres, the Akhara said this land was leased to Nyas for setting up Ram Katha Park and it could not be used for building temple.

We would “require the said land for construction of temple and facilities necessary thereto, if the applicant (Nirmohi Akhara) is successful in the appeal” on the title suit pending before the top court, it said.

Thus, at present no useful purpose would be served by permitting the Centre to release the leased land to the Nyas, the Akhara said in its plea.

The Akhara said in the plea formation of the Nyas itself was in dispute as it was set up on the “basis of a fraudulent deed” and the matter was pending before the munsif court in Faizabad.

The Centre has moved the top court seeking modification of its earlier order and the release of “excess/superfluous” land which could be returned to their owners.

The application is yet to be heard by the court as it has ordered mediation in the dispute for an amicable settlement of the title suit.

The Centre had on January 29 moved the top court seeking nod for giving a part of the 67 acres of undisputed land to the Nyas and other original owners. The Centre had also sought the modification of the top court’s March 31, 2003 order, directing the observance of status quo on the acquired 67 acres of undisputed land.

The Nyas owns about 42 acres of the undisputed land of the 67 acres that was acquired in 1993. The Nyas had moved the government seeking return of that 42 acres, which the Centre in its application on Tuesday described as “superfluous”.

The Centre by its January 29 plea had said only 0.312 acres is disputed. The central government “has no objection, in principle, if the superfluous land is restored to the Nyas as well as other original owners after determining the extent of land required for proper access to and enjoyment of rights in the disputed area,” it said.