New Delhi: A plea to defer verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit has been rejected by the Allahabad High Court. This means that the verdict in the 60-year case will be pronounced on September 24.
The court will decide that day on who the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land belongs to? And was the Masjid built over a temple? It's been one of India's most divisive and sensitive disputes. (Read: How the Babri demolition changed politics)
The petitioner, Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, who had pleaded that the verdict be deferred on the grounds that it would result in a breakdown of law and order, has been fined Rs 10 lakh by the court, which said it found no merit in the petition.
" We are really surprised to hear the wonderful argument by which the counsel for the applicant tries to frighten a court of law alleging apprehension of violence if judgement is delivered and thereby asking the court not to decide the case. The ways and means may be sophisticated but the end game is clear. The courts are meant for adjudication and not for adjournments or deferment," said the Court.(Watch:Petitioner fined Rs 10 lakh)
Ramesh Tripathi's Counsel, Prashant Chandra says he will now advise his client to go to the Supreme Court.
People on both sides of the dispute had voiced their opposition to the plea for deferment, saying there was no scope of reconciliation or compromise in the case."We told the court that there was no question of a compromise. The judgement has to be delivered on this issue," said Zafaryab Jilani, the counsel of the Sunni Waqf Board.
The only dissenting voice inside the court was that one of the oldest litigants in the dispute - the Nirmohi Akhada. The Akhada's counsel asked for the verdict to be delayed as there could still be a compromise. But this was rejected as all other litigants said no.
If the court had granted the plea, the verdict could have been delayed by six months.
Reacting to the decision, Janardan Dwivedi, General Secretary of Congress said, "The party has kept its view point. We think the solution to the problem should come with mutual consent. The final decision should be taken by the court and whatever decision they take will be our decision, and we stick to our opinion."
"The court has taken the right decision. This was an attempt to unnecessarily delay and create impediments in the process of judicial verdict. Whatever verdict has to come, let it come on September 24 and if we have to say anything on the verdict we will say after that," said Ram Madhav, Spokesperson, RSS.
The government has been gearing up to prevent the possible law and order problem. Nearly 1.5 lakh policemen will patrol the streets. 4000 paramilitary men will support them. Districts that have been identified as hyper-sensitive will get special protection. The three judges who will deliver the verdict and the High Court will be covered by a thousand policemen.
On Thursday, the government appealed for "the people of India to ensure that the delivery of the judgment is seen as part of the judicial process." (Read: As Ayodhya verdict date nears, parties keep fingers crossed)
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, "All must maintain equanimity and tranquility in aftermath of the judgment. No section must provoke another section." (Watch: Govt appeals for calm)
On December 6, 1992, thousands of kar sevaks, led by BJP and RSS leaders, demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, in what they described as their fight to reclaim the birthplace of Lord Ram. Communal riots followed. (Read: Babri Masjid, the Liberhan Report and the BJP)
The Prime Minister is said to be monitoring the security preparations ahead of this month's verdict.