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Apex court defers hearing on plea for delaying Ayodhya verdict


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday deferred the hearing on a petition seeking to restrain the Allahabad High Court from pronouncing its verdict Sep 24 on a title suit linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya. The matter may come up in court Thursday.

An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice A.K. Patnaik said that it was not in its “determination” (roster) to hear the mentioning matter arising out of a civil suit.

The court said that the court’s registry has been asked to post the matter before an appropriate bench. The petition may now come up for hearing Thursday.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for petitioner and retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, told the court that under the convention when the chief justice of India is presiding over the constitution bench hearing constitutional matter then the second senior-most bench could hear all matters of urgency.

Tripathi has challenged the order of the Lucknow bench of the high court 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.

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

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.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, when Tripathi’s counsel Sunil K. Jain sought to mention the matter, the apex court asked him to do so at 2 p.m.

Challenging the impugned order of the high court rejecting his plea, Tripathi said that 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’s 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.