Die is cast: SC steps back to allow Ayodhya verdict

UP on high alert as HC judgment day is set for Sept 30; parties appeal for calm

Die is cast: SC steps back to allow Ayodhya verdict

Rejecting a plea for an out-of-court settlement of the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid title suit, a three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan said in their unanimous ruling: “Having considered the detailed arguments advanced in these cases, we are of the view that the special leave petitions deserve to be dismissed.”

A state of red alert has been sounded across Uttar Pradesh even as the Centre has identified 32 locations across the country where it apprehends trouble and kept security forces in readiness at 16 places for quick deployment, including by heavy lift aircraft like IL-76.

Firming up its contingency plans in view of the verdict, the Home Ministry has issued an advisory to states and Union Territories to keep their forces on high alert as the judgement could trigger “sharp reactions”, sources said. Within hours of the apex court ruling in the petition filed by Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court said it would deliver the verdict at 3:30 pm on September 30.

The onerous task of reading out a sensitive verdict, which will come after 61 years, will be delivered by three judges, including Justice Dharam Veer Sharma who retires from service on October 1. The special bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justices Sudhir Agarwal, S U Khan and D V Sharma had earlier fixed September 24 to pronounce their judgment.

The High Court has to decide whether there existed a temple at the disputed site prior to 1528 and if the suit filed by the Babri Masjid Action committee in 1961, seeking possession of the site, was barred by limitation among other things.

The parties to the suit as well as the Congress and the BJP welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. The two political parties appealed for calm and urged the people to take the judgement with equanimity.

Attorney General Ghulam E Vahanvati submitted that the “government’s stand is that it would have preferred a settlement. But uncertainty cannot continue”, adding that “my position is very clear. I am of the view for implementation of the decision of the suit. That is what we have to do as per the mandate of the 1994”.

Praying to the Court not to delay the pronouncement of High Court’s judgment, Vahanvati said: “We cannot keep the troops (deployed at various places, including Ayodhya) on suspended animation for long. We want resolution of the matter one way or other.’’

Vahanvati said the government was committed to maintain the rule of law and was obligated by the undertaking given by it to the Supreme Court on September 14, 1994 that it will make attempts to resolve the issue through negotiations.

The fallout

* Both parties to the dispute plan to move the SC if the Allahabad HC verdict goes against either of them.

* There’s also talk of a negotiated settlement.

* The verdict is expected to pave the way for this.

* All parties — the Cong, the BJP, the RSS and Muslim groups want a verdict one way or the other.

Schools, colleges closed on Thu, Fri
The Karnataka government on Tuesday declared a two-day holiday for all schools and colleges on September 30 and October 1 as a precautionary measure in view of the Ayodhya title suit verdict to be announced by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on September 30, reports DHNS from Bangalore. However, all government offices and private establishments will function as usual.

It will be an extended holiday for students as October 2 is Gandhi Jayanthi and October 3 Sunday.

Tight security arrangements have been made across the State to prevent any untoward incident on the day of the court judgment its aftermath.

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