“Ayodhya ruling: SC relied on 1940 Privy Council Judgment
New Delhi: In denying justice person status to Ram Janmasthan, the SC’s Ayodhya verdict relied on a 1940 Privy Council judgment which dealt with a Sikh Muslim ownership dispute leading to demolition of the Shahid Ganj mosque in Lahore.
The mosque, near Naulakha Bazar in Lahore , was dedicated in 1722 by Falak Beg Khan. It came to be occupied by Sikhs in 1762 during Ranjit Singh’s reign.
The land adjacent to the mosque became a site for Sikh martyrs and a gurdwara. A tomb of Sikh leader Bhai Taru Singh also came up.        When the British annexed Punjab, the mosque building and its property were in possession of the Sikhs.
            A suit filed by Nur Ahmed on behalf of Muslims seeking passion of the  mosque and surrounding land was first rejected in 1853. It attained finality in 1856. On the night of July 7, 1935, the mosque was demolished by or with connivance of its Sikh custodians under the influence of communal ill-feelings.
            Riots and disorder ensued and much resentment was felt and expressed by Muslims, the Privy Council judgment said while dealing with a petition filed on behalf of Masjid Shahid Ganj seeking a declaration that the mosque and its adjoining properties were a juristic person.
Babri Masjid too was attacked by a riotous mob in 1934 and its three domes were damaged.
Prior to this, in 1858, Nihang Singh Faqir Khalsa had intruded into the area under the mosque’s central dome and wrote ‘Ram” all over the place with charcoal.
In 1949, idols were placed under the central dome and in 1992, the mosque was demolished.
The Hindu parties had sought juristic personality for Ram Janmasthan.            A bench of then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S A Bobde (now CJI), D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer relied on Justice George Rankin’s view in the Masjid Shahid Ganj case in denying the mosque and its properties juristic person status.”[1]

[1] Ayodhya ruling: SC relied on 1940 Privy Council Judgment,” The Times of India (Vijayawada) 22 November 2019, 5.


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