CJI to head bench on Ayodhya hearing

Besides the Chief Justice, the bench would include Justices Aftab Alam and KS Radhakrishnan.

New Delhi: A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia will on Tuesday decide the fate of the special leave petition seeking deferment of the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit.

Besides the Chief Justice, the bench would include Justices Aftab Alam and KS Radhakrishnan. The matter has been listed as the first item on the agenda at 10.30 am.

The apex court had on Thursday, stayed for a week the High Court verdict following the petition moved by a retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chand Tripathi seeking deferment of the
verdict to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.

The apex court had passed the interim stay amidst sharp differences of opinion on the issue of staying the verdict between Justices RV Raveendran and Justices HL Gokhale.

Tripathi`s petition pleaded for exploring the possibility of an out-of-court settlement on the 60-year-old Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit dispute.

The court had also asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati to be present and assist the court when the matter comes up on Tuesday.

Justice Raveendran was of the view that the special leave petition filed by Tripathi should be dismissed while Justice Gokhale was of the opinion that a notice should be
issued for exploring the option of settlement.

Notwithstanding his reservations, Justice Raveendran, who was heading the bench, preferred to go along with Justice Gokhale in making one attempt to find a settlement.

"If there is one per cent chance, you have to give it (for settlement)," Justice Gokhale said.

Justice Raveendran in his order said, "One of the members of the bench is of the view that the SLP should be dismissed. Another member is of the view that the order should
be stayed and notice issued.

"Tradition of this court is when one member says that notice be issued another says that it should not be issued, the notice should be issued.

"And we issue notice and stay the order. There shall be an interim stay for a week. Notice to all parties and the Attorney General who shall be present in the court".

Tuesday`s special hearing assumed considerable importance in view of the fact that one of the three judges of the Ayodhya bench in Lucknow--Justice DV Sharma-- is due to
demit office on October one.