After SC nod, Ayodhya verdict tomorrow

SC dismissed a petition that sought the postponement of Allahabad HC`s verdict on Ayodhya dispute.

Updated: Sep 29, 2010, 09:13 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi/Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court will deliver its verdict in the 60-year-old Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit on Thursday after the Supreme Court today cleared the path by dismissing a petition for its
deferment ending the uncertainty.

A three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court
will pronounce the verdict in the Ayodhya case on September 30
at 3.30 PM, the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Hari Shankar
Dubey said in Lucknow, shortly after the Apex Court lifted its
week-long interim stay given last Thursday.

The Supreme Court`s three-judge bench headed by Chief
Justice S H Kapadia gave a brief unanimous order dismissing the
petition by a retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chandra Tripathi
challenging the Lucknow Bench order rejecting his plea for
postponing the keenly waited judgement to explore the
possibility of mediation.

The apex court gave its order soon after it re-assembled after lunch break at 2 p.m. In its sitting before lunch, the court heard two-and-half hours long arguments by lawyers of the contending parties in the dispute.

The bench also comprising Justices Aftab Alam and K S
Radhakrishnan however did not give any reasons for its order
giving the green signal for the high court verdict after two
hours of arguments.

"Having considered in detail the arguments of the
parties, we are of the view that the SLP has to be dismissed.
Accordingly, the SLP stands dismissed," it said.

During arguments on the Special Leave Petition, the Bench
questioned the plea for deferment of the verdict.

"You are running against time because you woke up late.
That is after 50 years," Justice Aftab Alam said.

"The question is why you were quiet for all these
days. You had to strike a chord when the matter was in the
High Court," Justice Alam said.

The observations by the bench came when senior advocate
Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Tripathi, was buttressing the
argument that a settlement could be arrived at through
negotiations.

Initiating the argument for petitioner Rohtagi said there was a need for pro-active stand by the central government to resolve the emotive issue.

Pleading for the deferment of the high court verdict, senior counsel said there should be another attempt for settlement under the aegis of the apex court and the central government.

He said that no incalculable damage would be caused if the verdict was postponed and attempts were made for a negotiated settlement.

Rohtagi said that the issue was not a private dispute between two parties but it affected two main groups of the society.

The court was told that the issue had the tendency of causing communal tension which had led to bloodshed in the past and may again do so.

Anwsering the bench for the delay in exploring an
out-of-court settlement, Rohatgi said mediation was not a part
of the statute.

Justice Alam said lawyers of all the contesting parties
are at least in agreement on the issue of delivery of
judgement by the Allahabad High Court.

The September 30 date fixed by the Lucknow Bench assumes
importance since one of the judges of the three-member bench,
Justice D V Sharma, is to demit office on October one.
The other judges in the bench are Justice S U Khan and Sudhir
Agarwal.

Earlier, Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who was asked
by the apex court to assist it in today`s hearing, said that
uncertainty should not be allowed to continue.

Just before the court adjourned the hearing ahead of lunch break, Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati told the court: "If there is any possibility of settlement, we welcome it but at the same time we don`t want any uncertainty to continue."

He said the most preferred solution to the
Ayodhya problem would be settlement but it has not taken place
and the uncertainty which is prevailing should not be allowed
to continue.

"This has been the view of the Centre and this is my
view also," he said.

Since 1999, the stand of the Union Government has been
for settlement which has not taken place, he said.

"We would like a resolution of the matter in one way or
the other. We cannot keep the law and order machinery in
sustained animation," Vahanvati said.

He said that the matter has to be decided one way or the other.

Counsels pleading for deferment of the verdict said the
court and the government could try innovative approach to
evolve an out-of-court settlement.

However, counsels for all the parties to the dispute
except Nirmohi Akhara opposed the plea for deferment.

They said judicial function cannot be made a hostage
to the negative consequences which has been cited by Tripathi.

Amplifying his arguments, Vahanvati said "My position
is very clear. I am of the view for implementation of the
decision of the suit. This is what we have to do as per the
mandate of 1994".

Vahanvati said this while making a reference to the
verdict of the Constitutional bench on the land acquisition at
the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Vahanvati took exception to senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi`s contention that the central government sat "meekly" as a receiver after acquiring the disputed land at Ayodhya in 1993.

He said that the government`s mandate was limited as it was bound by the constitution bench verdict of October 1994, which obligated it to implement the outcome of the title suit trial in the Allahabad High court.

The constitution bench verdict of 1994 revived the title suit case and the high court was asked to conduct the case.

He said government believed in respecting the rule of
law. He also countered the argument that the tenure of one of
the retiring judges could be extended as the Centre has no
power in this regard, which is vested with the Chief Justice
of the High Court and only to a certain extent recommendations
can be made by the apex court collegium.

-Agencies inputs