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SC stays HC ruling on Ayodhya title suit
* Trifurcation stayed
* Prayers at makeshift temple to go on
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 9
The Supreme Court today stayed the Allahabad High Court’s September 30, 2010, verdict for the trifurcation of the disputed Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. Describing the HC verdict as “strange, surprising and not asked for”, the apex court ordered that status quo should be maintained at the disputed site. It, however, allowed worship of “Ram Lalla” at the makeshift temple.

A Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and RM Lodha also made it clear that it would entertain appeals of only those who were parties to the case in the HC. At the same time, the appeals of even those whose petitions were dismissed by the HC on the ground of maintainability would be heard by the SC.

The SC order was immediately welcomed by the parties to the title suit, including those representing the Bhagwan Ram Virajman, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Sunni Wakf Board. They expressed satisfaction over the interim order. In fact, during the arguments in the court, counsel for all parties today sought a stay on the HC judgment and status quo at the disputed site.

During the arguments that lasted about 45 minutes, the Bench remarked that the HC judgment “has created a fog by giving the decree of partition. It is surprising as none of the parties had prayed for partition. A new dimension has been given by the high court by giving a relief which was not prayed for. It is quite strange the court has ordered partition”.

Senior counsel Ravi Shankar Prasad, appearing for Ram Lalla, said the HC had recognised the deity, but still it ordered trifurcation.

The Bench also acknowledged the fact that each party in the case had claimed exclusive right over the entire site, not part of it, and that in a title suit there was only one winner.

In the order, the SC clarified that there would be no religious activity on the 67-acre land chunk, acquired by the government in 1993.

In a two-one split verdict, the HC had ruled that the central dome of the demolished structure was the birthplace of Lord Rama and as such one-third of the disputed area would go to the Hindu petitioners representing “Ram Lalla”. Another one-third was awarded to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board and the third portion relating to “Ram Chabootra” and “Sita Rasoi” to the Nirmohi Akhara.

The Bench did not fix the date for next hearing.





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