Thursday, September 23, 2010

SC stays Ayodhya title suit verdict for one week

SC stays Ayodhya title suit verdict for one week
PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed for a week the Ayodhya title suit
verdict that was due to be pronounced by Allahabad High Court on Friday and
will hear the plea for deferment of the judgement next Tuesday.

The Court issued notices to the contesting parties on the petition filed by
retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chand Tripathi challenging the order of the
Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court order refusing to defer the verdict
in the 60 year old Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid title suit dispute.

It posted the matter for further hearing on September 28.

A Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale stayed the
verdict for a week following conflicting views over the issue of
entertaining the petition challenging the High Court order.

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

However, Justice Raveendran, who was heading the Bench, preferred to go by
the opinion of Justice Gokhale.

In the order, Justice Raveendran said, "When one of the Judges has a
difference of opinion then the tradition is to issue notice."

Notice was also sent to the Attorney General by the Supreme Court.

A bench of the apex court comprising Justices Altmas Kabir and A K Patnaik
had on Wednesday declined to hear urgently the plea to postpone the Ayodhya
title suit verdict.

While refusing to hear the petition filed by retired bureaucrat Tripathi,
the bench had said that it did not have the "determination" to take up the
issue and added that it will be listed before another Bench.

Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel appearing for Tripathi, said the Supreme
Court may give a healing touch by attempting a last ditch effort at
mediation.

He said it was possible that in the face of Supreme Court notices the rival
parties may sit across to find an amicable solution.
Rohatgi said that next Tuesday his side would try to tell the court that
the matter of judgement should be deferred so that religious, political and
national leaders could try and work out a solution.

He also said it was not a matter of just 10 or 20 parties in the case but
related to lakhs and crores of people and the mediation could result in
some way out.

Tripathi had on Wednesday moved the apex court five days after the High
Court's Lucknow bench rejected his petition for deferring the verdict and
to allow mediation to find a solution to the contentious dispute.

The Allahabad High Court had also imposed "exemplary costs" of Rs 50,000,
terming Tripathi's effort for an out of court settlement of the dispute as
a "mischievous attempt".

The petition filed by Tripathi sought some time to allow mediation among
the parties and also challenged the costs.

Tripathi, in his plea before the apex court, claimed that the verdict might
disturb communal harmony and lead to violence in the country.

In the petition filed through advocate Sunil Jain, he cited several reasons
for deferment of the verdict, which he said would be in "public interest"
in view of the apprehension of communal flare up, upcoming Commonwealth
Games, elections in Bihar and violence in Kashmir Valley and Naxal hit
states.

The petition had feared that there would be inadequate security personnel
in Uttar Pradesh to provide security.

Tripathi had also referred to an earlier order of the Court on July 27 last
that parties concerned are at liberty to approach the Officer on Special
Duty for formation of the bench if there was any possibility of disposal of
the dispute or arrival at an understanding through consensus.

One of the three judges in the Lucknow bench, however, disagreed with the
majority order of September 17 rejecting the plea for deferring the Ayodhya
verdict to allow mediation and gave a dissenting opinion that an amicable
settlement could have been explored in the protracted legal wrangle.

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, while not concurring with the view of the other
two judges - Justice S U Khan and Justice Sudhir Agarwal - also said in his
dissenting judgement that he wasn't consulted when the three—judge bench
gave the order while dismissing the plea for mediation.

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