Supreme Court ensured Ayodhya verdict can’t be used to take over land just by citing faith

  • Nirmohi Akhara, a sect of bairagis or monks who sought seeking management of the land --- say that the land itself is a manifestation of God.
  • The court allowed Nirmohi Akhara to be a part of the trust which will now hold the land to build the temple, but denied them management of the land.
  • The judgment set a precedence saying that while a piece of land which is of religious significance – is not enough to stake claim on land.

In its judgment that went over a 1,000 pages, the Supreme Court avoided a litany of possible land claims by religious entities. The order is significant in a country where Gods can manifest themselves from thin air on trees, lands and anthills and molehills, which later turn into mountains.

The court rejected the Nirmohi Akhara’s suit but has allowed the government to decide if the Akhara should be given adequate representation in the trust that will manage the upcoming temple for Lord Rama.


Nirmohi Akhara⁠— a sect of bairagis or monks who sought seeking management of the disputed site in Ayodhya⁠— claimed that the land itself is a manifestation of God. The sect claims to have run the Ram temple for years before the erection of the Babri Masjid in the 16th century.

“Recognising the land as a self-manifested deity would open the floodgates for parties to contend that ordinary land which was witness to some event of religious significance associated with the human incarnation of a deity is in fact a Swayambhu deity manifested in the form of land,” the judgment said. The Sanskrit term Swayambhu means the naturally occuring manifestation of a deity, as opposed to a man-made one.

In India, deities, rivers, animals etc. can be accepted as juristic entities i.e. they can pay taxes, hold property, sue, and be sued. The argument presented by the K Parasaran, the counsel for Nirmohi Akhara, was ‘novel extension’ of the idea, the verdict said even as it rejected it.


While the Supreme Court did not set any limits to what a deity must look like⁠— and did not rule out that a land can be considered a deity⁠— the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the religious significance was not enough to claim a piece of land.

“At best, the contention urged on behalf of the plaintiffs would sustain a claim that the specific site is a location of religious significance for the devotees. It cannot however be extended to sustain proprietary claims to the law or to immunise the land from proprietary or title,” the judgement said.

Hindus get the disputed site in Ayodhya for a Ram Temple-- that and other top highlights from the Supreme Court verdict