Apex court stays Ayodhya verdict till Sep 28 (Second Lead)

September 23rd, 2010 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday ordered an interim stay till Sep 28 on the pronouncement of the Ayodhya verdict by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High court.
The high court was due to deliver its verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit Friday.

An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale, while issuing notice to all the parties to the title suit, asked Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati to be present in the court when the case is heard Sep 28.

The ruling followed a petition of retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chandra Tripathi for postponement of the high court verdict at least until the end of the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games. It also sought the court’s direction to the parties to explore possibilities of an out of court amicable settlement.

However, there was a divergence of views on the issue in the apex court bench of Justice Raveendran and Justice Gokhale Thursday .

Pronouncing the order, Justice Raveendran said that one member of the bench was of the view that the special leave petition be dismissed and the other was of the view that notice be issued to parties and the high court decision be stayed.

Justice Raveendran said that according to the convention whenever one member of the bench wants notice to be issued to related parties, and another member wants to dismiss the petition, the notice is issued.

Appearing for the petitioner Tripathi, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi said that the country was already heaped with problems and there was hardly any scope for adding one more to the list.

He referred to the floods in various states, the Jammu and Kashmir imbroglio and the Commonwealth Games (CWG), indicating that these issues needed to be addressed on priority.

He said that the title suit was not just a matter of dispute between two parties over a private property. The case involved the religious sentiments of the people.

While saying that this could not be the ground for the deferment of verdict, Justice Raveendran deferred the hearing on the petition till Sep 28.

On Wednesday, an apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice A.K. Patnaik deferred the hearing on Tripathi’s plea and said that it was not in its “determination” (roster) to hear the mentioning matter arising out of a civil suit.

Rohtagi told Justice Kabir and Justice Patnaik that under the convention when the chief justice of India is presiding over the constitution bench hearing a constitutional matter, the bench of the second senior-most judge could hear all matters of urgency.

Tripathi has challenged the high court order rejecting his plea for the deferment of the pronouncement of the verdict, scheduled for Friday, so that there could be some mediation for an amicable settlement of the dispute.

Tripathi’s petition was turned down by the three-judge special bench of the high court last week. While two judges S.U. Khan and Sudhir Agrawal rejected the application, the third judge, Dharam Veer Sharma, allowed the plea, following which Tripathi chose to move the apex court.

The high court also imposed a cost of Rs.50,000 on Tripathi.

Challenging the impugned order of the high court, Tripathi said the pronouncement of the verdict should be deferred till the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games or till the time there was a conducive atmosphere in the country.

The petitioner said that given the possible ramification and repercussion of the high court verdict Sep 24, the apex court should accept his plea to defer the pronouncement of judgment.

The petitioner said that disputes of religious and emotive nature could only be resolved through arbitration, conciliation or mediation.

He said that the entire Ayodhya issue was communally sensitive.

Referring to high court Justice Dharam Veer Sharma’s statement that he was not consulted by the other two judges at the time of passing the impugned order dismissing the plea for the deferment of the verdict, the petitioner said that no prejudice would be caused by deferring the pronouncement of Ayodhya verdict.

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