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SC rejects deferment plea, Ayodhya verdict tomorrow
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 28
The Supreme Court today rejected the petition to defer the Allahabad High Court verdict in the 60-year-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. Reports from Lucknow said that the high court bench, comprising Justices SU Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and DV Sharma, would now deliver the verdict at 3.30 pm on Thursday. Justice Sharma retires on October 1.

A three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia today said that after considering the “detailed arguments” advanced by most of the parties to the dispute, it was of the view that the plea deserved to be rejected. However, the Bench — which included Justices Aftab Alam and KS Radhakrishnan — did not specify the reason for dismissing the petition filed by retired civil servant RC Tripathi.

‘Judiciary can’t be held hostage’

Senior counsel Soli Sorabji, appearing for one of the parties, said the “judicial system should not be held hostage” to apprehensions of law and order arising from the verdict going against any one of the communities involved in the dispute.

During the arguments that lasted a little over two hours today, Justice Alam found fault with RC Tripathi for not taking any initiative all these years for an across-the-table solution. “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.

Attorney-General GE Vahanvati said that the government did feel that the most preferred solution to the dispute was a settlement, but it had not taken place in the past 50 years. The government did not want the present uncertainty to continue, he said.

Barring RC Tripathi and Nirmohi Akhara, all parties to the dispute which argued in the court today were opposed to delaying the high court verdict.

The Lucknow Bench of the high court was to deliver its verdict on September 24 but an apex court Bench had stayed it on September 23, issuing notice to all parties to the dispute on RC Tripathi’s petition.

Refuting RC Tripathi’s allegations that the Centre had remained a mute spectator for years without being pro-active for finding a negotiated settlement, Vahanvati said a Constitution Bench of the SC had asked the government to act as a “statutory receiver” of the disputed land until the judicial verdict only to hand it over to the party that came out successful in the title suit.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RC Tripathi, said that the Centre had conveniently forgotten Parliament’s commitment to constructing a temple as well as a mosque at the disputed site, measuring over 70 acres, besides setting up an inter-faith museum and a library. Countering Vahanvati’s contention that the verdict would end the uncertainty, he said the case was bound to come to the apex court in the form of an appeal.





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