A Timeline of Key Events in the Babri Masjid - Ram Temple Controversy


1529Babri Mosque constructed by Mir Baqi.


1885: Court Dispute Begins -  The first suit in the dispute is filed by Mahant Raghubir Das, who sought to build a temple on land adjoining the mosque.  The Faziabad District Magistrate (DM) refused him permission. Next, Mahant Raghubir Das filed a title suit in Faizabad Court against the Secretary of State for India, seeking permission to build a temple on the chabutra (courtyard) of the Babri mosque. Faizabad Court rejected his plea.



Dec 1949: Ram Idol Appears inside the Mosque  - On the night of 22nd December, a Ram Idol appeared inside the mosque. Hindus see the appearance of the Idol as a divine revelation, however many argue that the Idol was smuggled inside at night. Hindus started offering prayers.


The Government declared the site as a “contested area” and locked the entrance.


1950: Hindu sides file Suits – Two suits are filed in Faizabad Court by Gopal Simla Viharad and Paramhansa Ramachandra Das, seeking permissiong to conduct Hindu pujas to Ram Lalla. The Court granted the parties permission to conduct pujas. The Court orders the inner courtyard gates to remain locked.



1959: Thid Hindu suit filed - Nirmohi Akhara files third suit, seeking possession of the land.                    


1961Muslim suite filed - UP Sunni Wakf Board files a suit seeking possession of Babri Mosque site. They also demand the removal of Ram Idols from Babri Masjid.



1984: Ram Janmbhoomi Movement commences - Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) constitutes a group to start the Ram Janmbhoomi Movement. BJP leader LK Advani is made the leader of the campaign.



1st February, 1986: Inner Gate of Babri Mosque opened -  A third party, lawyer UC Pandey appeals for the gates to be unlocked before the Faizabad Session Court, on the grounds that the Faizabad district administration, and not a Court, had ordered its closure.


District Judge orders to remove locks to allow Hindu “pooja and darshan”.


Muslims constitute Babri Mosque Action Committee (BMAC) in protest.



July 1, 1989: A fifth suit is filed in name of Ram Lalla Virajman (Deity Ram)


November 9, 1989: Shilanayas performed -  PM Rajiv Gandhi allows VHP to perform Shilanayas (laying of foundation stone) near disputed area.


1989 – All four suits filed in the matter are shifted to Allahabad High Court.



September 25, 1990: LK Advani launches a rath yatra from Somnath (Gujarat) to Ayodhya (UP) to incite support for the Movement. Communal riots break out.


December 6, 1992: Babri Mosque razed by violent mob of Karsevaks. The Karsevaks leave behind a make-shift temple in its place.


December 16, 1992: 10 days after the Mosque was demolished, PM formed a committee Led by retired High Court Judge M. S. Liberhan, to look into circumstances leading to the demolition of Babri Mosque and deaths due to communal riots. The Commission was originally mandated to submit its report within three months of its formation.


January 7, 1993: Narsimha Rao Government issues an ordinance acquiring 67.7 acres of land (Site and adjoining areas). Later it was passed as a law – Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Act, 1993 to facilitate acquisition of land by Central government.



1994: Ismail Faruqui Judgment – The SC by a majority of 3:2 upheld the constitutionality of Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Act.

The majority judgment by former CJI JS Verma reasoned that every religious immovable property is liable to be acquired. However it has been criticized for observations regarding the essentiality of mosque as a place of worship in Islam. In simple terms, the SC adjudged that offering namaz at mosque was not integral to Islam unless that mosque had any particular significance in Islam. 


There were no reviews filed against Ismail Faruqui judgment.


April 2002: Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court begins hearing Ayodhya title dispute.


March - August 2003: Archaeological Survey of India begins excavating the land underneath disputed site on directions of Allahabad High Court. It claimed to have found remnants of a 1oth century Hindu Temple. Muslims question the ASI report.


June 30th, 2009: After a delay of 17 years, the Librehan Commission submitted the report to Prime Minister though its contents are not made public.


September 30, 2010Court splits land in three ways – The  High Court rules a three way division of the disputed land. One third for the Sunni Wakf Board, one third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one third to Ram Lalla Virajman.

judgment of the Lucknow bench of the HC of September 30, 2010, which divided the disputed land in Ayodhya in 2:1 ratio among the Muslim and Hindu litigants.

The HC allotted the dome of the demolished Babri Masjid, under which the makeshift temple currently stands, to the Hindus. The structure was demolished by a group of kar sevaks on December 6, 1992. The nearby Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi also went to the Nirmohi Akhara. The one-third share of the Sunni Wakf Board comprise the outer courtyard of the disputed land.


May 2011: The Supreme Court stayed the High Court's ruling of 30th September 2010. Admitting a batch of petitions filed by all parties, a division bench of Justices Aftam Alam and R.M. Lodha termed the High Judgment as “strange”. RM Lodha observed “.a new dimension has been given by the High Court as the decree of partition was not sought by the parties. It was not prayed for by anyone. It has to be stayed. It’s a strange order. How can a decree for partition be passed when none of the parties had prayed for it?..”



March 21, 2017: Former Chief Justice Khehar suggests out of court settlement among all parties.


August 11, 2017: 3 judge bench of SC starts hearing the matter – The 3 judge bench of SC comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer began hearing appeal from High Court judgment.



Feb – July 2018:  Multiple hearings happened in the court where Mr. Rajeev Dhavan wanted the SC to refer the Ismail Faruqui judgment to a 7 judge bench for reconsideration.



July 20, 2018: SC reserves verdict on reference to larger bench.


September 27, 2018: SC refuses to form a constitutional bench – The 3 judge bench in a split of 2:1 verdict held that Ismail Faruqui judgment of 1994 which held mosque to not be integral to the practice of Islam, does not require reconsideration by a larger bench.

A 3-judge bench will hear the case. The next hearing is on 29th October 2018.