Litigant stakes claim on excess Ayodhya land

New Delhi: The Panch Ramanandi Nirmohi Akhara Ayodhya (Nirmohi Akhara) on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court opposing the Centre’s plea for restoration of excess land surrounding the disputed Babri Masjid structure to its owners.

The applicant said it wanted to be impleaded in the matter in view of apprehensions that the Central Government is deliberating the release of superfluous land in which, the Nirmohi Akhara contended, it has substantial interest.

The Nirmohi Akhara said in Supreme Court that at the present juncture, it is not known who would be the ultimately successful party in the appeals and therefore the superfluous land cannot be assessed at present.

The Nirmohi Akhara has staked a claim in a part of the land sought to be so returned. It objected to the Centre’s move to transfer certain land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and said this land ought to continue to be vested with the government as its trustee, given that the Akhara may require it if it can prove its claim to the same in the pending appeals before the Supreme Court.

It submitted that about 42 acres out of the 67 Acres of lands acquired vide Acquisition of Certain Lands at Ayodhya Act, 1993 was leased to the said Nyas, which has been established on the basis of an allegedly fraudulent deed.A suit claiming the same is pending adjudication at the Munsiff’s court in Faizabad, it is claimed.

The applicant pointed out that the lands in question had originally been seized by the government through notifications issued in 1991.

These notifications were set aside by the Allahabad High Court in 1992.However, in the meanwhile, it is pointed out that the state government had already demolished several temples situated in these areas, including six being managed by the Nirmohi Akhara’s representatives.

As the 1992 judgment was never challenged, it had become final. As a consequence, it is contended, the properties and the demolished temples ought to have been restored, as they existed prior to the acquisition. This relief is now being pressed, also in view of the fact that the government has sought permission to release the properties.

The Akhara had earlier prayed that the mediation venue be shifted out of Faizabad to Delhi, that two more judges be appointed to the mediation panel and that any final decision taken must be subject to the approval of the Panchas involved.

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