Most Ayodhya litigants want verdict now

Most Ayodhya litigants want verdict now

Crucial SC decision today

Most Ayodhya litigants want verdict now

The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and some litigants, including Saleemuddin Khan, said in separate replies that the petition filed by Ramesh Chandra Tripathi before the Supreme Court should be dismissed and the High Court asked to deliver its judgement before one of three judges that adjudicated the title suit, Justice Dharam Veer V Sharma, retires on October 1.

Tripathi’s petition had sought deferment of the High Court’s judgement on the ground that disturbances were likely to break out at a time when the Commonwealth Games were about to begin, Kashmir was restive and floods had caused disruption in several northern India states.

A three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court of Justices S U Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D V Sharma heard the arguments of 26 litigants since January this year for the title suit involving the 2.77-acre land at Ayodhya which has been at the centre of a bitter dispute for the last 61 years.

Even the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the highest representative body of Muslims in the country, feels that an out-of-court settlement of the Babri title suits was not possible and the issue should be settled by the law courts.

Requesting anonymity, an AIMPLB official said that the Board was opposed to the matter being settled through reconciliation and that it would likely oppose Tripathi’s judgement deferment petition before the Supreme Court which has fixed September 28 as the date of next hearing.

The Board is of the view that several attempts at reconciliation in the past have failed and since the case has dragged on for six decades, it was time that a judicial verdict was delivered.

The AIMPLB would file an intervention application to oppose further deferment of the ruling by the High Court, the Board member said.

Citing examples of past efforts of out-of-court settlement, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board said both Maulana Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, then president of AIMPLB, and Jagadguru Shankarachary of Kanchikoti had held talks in March 2003 at the initiative of then President R Venkataraman.

Even in 1992, then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had initiated talks with the litigating parties, but they failed, the Waqf Board said its reply filed before the court.

However, the Akhil Bharitiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM), one of the parties to the suit before the Lucknow Bench, said that in his application Tripathi had neither mentioned about the modus of possibility of out-of-court settlement, nor had he ever taken any initiative in this regard in the past.

Claiming that his organisation was opposed to the petition seeking mediation to resolve the dispute, ABHM advocate Vivek Sharma said he would press for a quick verdict.

It is reported that Mohammad Hashim Ansari (90), the oldest litigant and an important party to the dispute, also wanted the verdict to be pronounced before October 1.

The Nirmohi Akhara, a key party in the suit, concurred with the submission made by Tripathi, saying it would request the apex court for deferring the case for three months to help find a solution through negotiations. Nirmohi Akhara’s counsel  R L Verma said a prayer would be made before the Supreme Court for giving three months time for resolving the issue through reconciliation.

Tripathi’s advocate Sanjay Jain claimed that more supporters in favour of a negotiated settlement would file their replies before the Supreme Court.

 There is, however, speculation, that the Supreme Court may defer the matter till Tuesday as many of the 27 litigants were not served notices to file their replies to Tripathi’s petition. Till Monday evening, only six to seven replies had been filed by the parties with the Registry office.

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