Wednesday, March 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ayodhya: Centre not to be party
HC reserves order on plea for day-to-day hearing

Lucknow, March 19
The Allahabad High Court today reserved till tomorrow its order on the Centre’s petition to begin a day-to-day hearing of the Ayodhya case to facilitate a speedy disposal of the matter.

The Lucknow Bench of the court did so after hearing arguments from the parties concerned, including the Additional Solicitor-General R.N. Trivedi. The Bench comprised Mr Justice S.R. Alam, Mr Justice Sudhir Narain and Mr Justice Bhanwar Singh.

Mr Trivedi submitted that the Centre would not be a party in the case. However, he said it was interested in a speedy disposal since it was the statutory receiver of the acquired land in Ayodhya.

The Sunni Central Waqf Board (SCWB) and the Nirmohi Akhara, the plaintiffs in the case, pleaded that the Centre had no “locus standi” in the matter.

The akhara submitted that the Centre’s petition was “mala fide”, while the board said it was infructuous since the court had already passed an order on July 12 ordering a day-to-day hearing.

In the context of the Judges’ query in the morning whether the state government would agree to meet the expenditure for setting up a commission, Mr Trivedi told newsmen that the state government had informed the court that it would abide by any court directive in this regard. Setting up of a commission was suggested by judges for recording statement of witnesses to help them decide the matter expeditiously.

Mr Trivedi said the Centre was prepared to meet the expenses on this account, if necessary, since it was only interested in a speedy disposal of the matter.

Mr Trivedi submitted before the court that it was the Centre’s responsibility to maintain status quo in the acquired land and that the Union Government was spending Rs 30 crore annually on security and other arrangements.

At the press conference, Mr Trivedi said: “Though the Centre is neither a necessary nor a proper party in the matter, it is an interested party”.

“No relief has been claimed against us,” he asserted, adding that the Centre was neither supporting nor opposing any of the parties in the dispute.”

Mr Trivedi said expenditure for any commission should not come in the way of expeditious disposal of the matter. PTIBack

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