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SC Defers Hearing On Deferring Ayodhya Verdict

New Delhi, Sep 22: The Supreme Court today deferred hearing a plea to postpone the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit dispute due to be pronounced on Friday after a bench said
PTI September 22, 2010 15:06 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 22: The Supreme Court today deferred hearing a plea to postpone the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit dispute due to be pronounced on Friday after a bench said it did not have the "determination" to take up the matter.

The bench while refusing to hear the petition filed by retired bureacrat Ramesh Chand Tripathi earlier in the day did not specify the date when the matter will be taken up again but directed the Court Registry to list it before another Bench in the routine course.

As all eyes were on the apex Court with just two days left for the keenly awaited verdict, Justices Altmas Kabir and A K Patnaik said the petition will be taken up by another Bench as it did not have the "determination" to take up the matter.

"We do not have determination to take up the matter which has arisen from a civil suit," the Bench said.

"Since I don't have the determination, it will go to the Bench which has the determination," Justice Kabir, who was heading the bench said.

Tripathi approached the Apex court five days after a three-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court rejected his petition for deferring the verdict and to allow mediation to find a solution to the 60-year-old Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit dispute.

The bench decided this morning to to take up the petition at 2 PM after Tripathi's counsel said it required urgent consideration.

"I direct it for listing. I don't have such power," Justice Kabir said, when senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Tripathi, pleaded the case should be listed tomorrow.

The counsel further said the appeal will become infructous if the matter is not heard by the apex Court in view of the date fixed by the Allahabad High Court to deliver the verdict on September 24.

Justice Kabir again said, "Sorry, I don't have the determination."

The High Court had also imposed "exemplary costs" of Rs 50,000 terming Tripathi's effort for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute as a "mischievous attempt".

The application, which sought some time to allow mediation, also challenged the costs of Rs 50,000 imposed on him.

In his petition before the High Court, Tripathi had claimed that verdict might disturb communal harmony and lead to violence in the country.

He had referred to an earlier order of the Court on July 27 last that parties concerned are at liberty to approach the Officer on Special Duty for formation of the bench if there was any possibility of disposal of the dispute or arrival at an understanding through consensus.

The court had, however, rejected the application terming it as "mischievous" and "an attempt to obstruct the verdict".

One of the three judges in the Lucknow BencH however disagreed with the majority order rejecting the plea for deferring the Ayodhya verdict to allow mediation and gave a dissenting opinion that an amicable settlement could have been explored.

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma while not concurring with the view of the other two judges--Justice S U Khan and Justice Sudhir Agarwal--also said in his dissenting judgement he wasn't consulted when the three-judge bench gave the order while dismissing the plea for mediation. PTI