The question that whether we will be able to offer our prayers at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in our lifetime has haunted our previous generation and it has started to haunt us now. The dispute began in 1853 when the Nirmohi Akhara staked claim on the Masjid and even after so many years, in 2019, there is still no solution in sight. Although the matter is in the Apex Court what the people have been getting is “Taarikh pe taarikh”. In such a scenario a question arises… Does the center have enough authority to build the mandir and when can they start building the Mandir?
Well the answer to this is YES! The government can build the Ram Mandir wherever it wants and whenever it wants and that too within the legal and constitutional framework of the country.
The present case in Supreme Court on Ram Mandir is strictly restricted to The Title. The Supreme Court will strictly treat the dispute as a mere land dispute and then later determine who the actual owner of the land is.
Till 1978, Right to property was a fundamental right. But after the 44th amendment to the constitution, it became a constitutional right. Article 300A, introduced by the amendment, states that, Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law. No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law. This means that, the government may deprive a person of his property for greater public use by paying them fair and adequate compensations under the provisions of Land Acquisition act.
On December 7th 1992, a day after the Masjid demolition, the Narashimha Rao government acquired about 67 acres of land in and around the disputed site though an ordinance – The Acquisition of certain areas of Ayodhya Act. The same was challenged by Ismail Faruqui in the Supreme Court where a Constitutional bench gave a verdict in 1994 that –“a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of Islam and hence could be acquired by the state.”
So as of today, the government is owner of the land and if the government wants, they can hand over the land to anyone they want including, the VHP or the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas who can then begin the construction of Ram Mandir. And when the Supreme Court decides on the title and say who the actual owner of the disputed site is, the government can then pay fair and adequate compensation to the party under article 300A.
On 29th January, the government has sought permission from the Supreme Court to return land that it has held for over two decades to the original owners. It contends that of the 67 acres of land in question, only 0.313 acres are disputed and currently being heard in the Supreme Court. A large portion of the 67 acres of land originally belonged to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a trust geared towards the construction of the Ram Mandir.
This seems as a great development on the path of construction of the Mandir. But legally speaking, the government has the authority to handover even the 0.313 acres of land to interested parties for the construction of the Mandir.
As a Hindu I sincerely hope that the government fast-tracks the process and we can see the construction of the temple begin at least in the second half of this year.