High Court refuses to defer Ayodhya verdict

ON GUARD:RAFpersonnel deployednear the High Court whichwas hearing the deferment applications relating to the Ayodhya suit in Lucknow on Friday. PTI

High Court refuses to defer Ayodhya verdict

A special bench comprising Justices S U Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and Dharam Veer Sharma dismissed the PIL filed by a retired government servant Ramesh Chandra Tripathi and also imposed a hefty fine. One of the judges suggested Rs 5 lakh as fine but nothing was announced by the court. It only said “petition rejected with heavy cost.”
An undeterred Tripathi later indicated that his fight for getting the matter resolved amicably through negotiations would continue and that he would now approach the Supreme Court with his PIL.

With the rejection of the PIL, the way is now clear for the court to go ahead with it earlier decision to pronounce the judgment at 3:30 pm on September 24. The three-judge bench, which heard the PIL in a packed court, expressed its serious displeasure at the filing of the PIL, which it said, was “without any merit.” The hearing lasted merely 30 minutes during which the court dubbed the petition a ‘publicity stunt’ and rejected its contentions.

The court observed that the petitioner neither had a concrete plan for negotiations nor the consent from other advocates. Hence the court could not accept the petition. “If there is any concrete plan, the court is open to accepting it before the verdict,” the bench said.

The HC pointed out to the petitioner that it had explored the possibility of arriving at an amicable solution out-of-court and had invited the parties concerned to approach it with their suggestions, but without any success.

It said there was little hope of resolving the matter through negotiations now and wanted to know from the petitioner whether he had held any discussions with any of the parties to the dispute in this regard to which the petitioner replied in the negative.
At the very beginning of the hearing, the bench asked the various contestants whether they were interested in arriving at an out-of-court settlement. While Nirmohi Akhara, one of the main plaintiffs, had filed an application expressing its desire to go for an amicable solution, the Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha counsels said that they favoured a verdict by the court.

Later speaking to newsmen outside the court, Hindu Mahasabha counsel H S Jain said that he did not want “any compromise on the name of Lord Rama. We want a verdict.”
Sunni Central Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani also echoed a similar sentiment. “What settlement...they (the Hindu petitioners) want us to surrender the land on which the mosque stood, which is impossible,’’ Jilani said.

The rejection of the PIL was a foregone conclusion after the lawyers from the concerned parties had made it clear that they did not favour any deferment of the verdict.
The court has to decide mainly whether there existed a temple at the disputed site, prior to 1538 and if the suit filed by the Babri panel in 1961 seeking possession of the site is barred by time limitation. The court had reserved its judgment in July, after the conclusion of the hearing of the 60-year-long legal dispute.

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