The judgement by the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya title dispute case marks culmination of a seven-decade-old legal battle in the hugely sensitive case.
The legal case, revolving around the dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, dominated political discourse since the 1980s.
Hindu groups wanted control of the land, saying a temple existed there, but Muslim groups claimed there was no proof that a temple existed there.
In 1992, Hindu groups demolished the 16th century Babri mosque which they believed was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram.
It was in 1822, Faizabad court offical first claimed that the mosques stood on the site of a temple.
Eventually this led to the first recorded incidents of religious violence at the site in 1855.
In 1859, the British colonial administration set up a railing to separate the outer courtyard of the mosque to avoid disputes.
The status quo remained in place until 1949, when idols of Rama appeared inside the mosque. It is allegedly that idols of Rama was placed there by the volunteers of the Hindu Mahasabha.
This instigated an uproar, with both parties filing civil suits laying claim to the land.
The site was declared to be in dispute, and the gates to the Masjid were locked.
On December 23, 1949, Gopal Singh Visharad, a devotee of ”Ram Lalla”, filed a case in Faizabad court, claiming the ownership of the disputed land and to seek enforcement of the right to worship of Hindus at the disputed site. Following this, the government locked the site.
From here the legal battle started.
The Allahabad High Court verdict prescribing a three-way division of the disputed land in September 2010 failed to satisfy the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the dispute.
Ram Lalla and Nirmohi Akhara also remained at loggerheads, none willing to compromise on its claim on the disputed site. And all three parties have moved to the Supreme Court.
(With the inputs of agency).