Friday, March 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

SC reserves verdict on Ayodhya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
The Supreme Court today reserved its order on the Centre’s plea on vacating the stay on all religious activitty in the 67 acres of acquired land surrounding the disputed site in Ayodhya. While the Vishwa Hindu Parishad supported the contention of the government, all Muslim organisations opposed it on the ground that any judicial order from this court could affect the title suit in the Allahabad High Court.

The decision of the apex court comes a day after the Allahabad High Court directed the Archaeological Survey of India to carry out excavation in the disputed area and submit its report within a month.

A five-Judge constitution Bench comprising Mr Justice S Rajendra Babu, Mr Justice S S M Quadri, Mr Justice M B Shah, Mr Justice N Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice Doraiswamy Raju reserved its verdict on the Centre’s application seeking vacation of the interim order of March 13/14 last year after hearing Solicitor-General Kirit Raval and other parties.

The Solicitor-General said as there was no status quo order on the undisputed land, the 2002 interim order banning any religious activity as well as handing over of the land went beyond the 1994 Judgement given by the five-Judge Bench.

The government said the three-Judge Bench order last year could not have exceeded the verdict of the five-Judge constitution Bench detailing the manner in which the government could give back the undisputed land to a trust, authority or a body.

Saying that the March 13/14 interim order was passed under a certain situation, Mr Raval contended that the petition filed by Mr Mohammad Aslam, alias Bhure had been rendered infructuous as the law and order situation was normal and no breach of the Supreme Court orders had taken place.

Mr Raval stated that the government was committed to obey the 1994 judgement and maintain status quo at the disputed area till the Allahabad High Court decided the suits filed by Hindus and Muslims claiming ownership over the disputed land.

Clarifying that there was no party before the government to whom portion of the land could be given, Mr Raval said “the other community should not take a rigid stand and ask for continuance of the status quo on the undisputed land.”

Appearing for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, senior advocate P S Mishra submitted that the VHP was not seeking the land for itself but for any appropriate trust which could help in continuing with the rituals in the area, which were being conducted with a lot of difficulty at present.

Appearing for the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, senior advocate Kapil Sibal vehemently opposed the Centre’s plea and said “for 10 years the government observed status quo at the disputed as well as the undisputed land and no change of circumstances have been pointed by the government to seek an order changing the status quo.”

Mr Sibal said the 1994 judgement was crystal clear in stating that the undisputed land could not be handed over to anyone till the Allahabad High Court gave its verdict on the rival suits claiming ownership over the disputed land.

Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board, senior advocate Sidharth Shankar Ray submitted that the status quo should be continued even in the undisputed area. He was supported by the Babri Masjid Action Committee and the Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee.


BJP for out-of-court settlement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
The BJP today said an out-of-court settlement between the contending parties on the contentious Ram temple issue at Ayodhya was the best possible solution.

“The BJP will accept the court verdict on the Ayodhya issue but a mutual settlement of the dispute by the contending parties will go a long way in taking away the bitterness and restoring a congenial atmosphere in the country,” party’s Parliamentary Party spokesperson Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.

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