NEW DELHI: The mob that illegally demolished the Babri Masjid against the Supreme Court’s orders was declared the victor in the bitter dispute in 2019, when the apex court awarded the land where the mosque’s rubble lay to the rightwing destroyers, with a piece of the land going to the deity Ram Lala.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court closed what could be the last of the cases in the Ayodhya dispute hanging for three decades, noting that the petitioner and the chief respondent were dead. It also noted that the core case of the land dispute had already been decided, which the court said made the contempt petition infructuous.

According to the Bar and Bench portal, a bench of Jus­tices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka said the petition had become infructuous in light of the top cou­rt’s 2019 judgement in which the Hindu parties were given ownership of the disputed land. The bench also rejected a request to substitute the contempt pet­i­tioner, who had passed away, with the amicus curiae.

Read: What the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya judgment means for the future of the Republic of India

The Babri Masjid was dem­olished in December 1992. The same had happe­ned despite an undertaking by the Uttar Pradesh govern­ment to the Supreme Court that the structure would be protected. This had led to the contempt of court case against the UP government. In 2019, the Supreme Court had awarded the disputed site to Hindu nationalists.

In September 2020, a special CBI court in Lucknow had acquitted former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, and several others in the demolition case. It was held that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to produce any conclusive evidence to prove any connivance that led to the destruction of the mosque. The special court said that there was no documentary evidence to show that there was a conspiracy or provocation to bring down the disputed structure.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2022

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