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In a surprise move, one of the three judges of the Allahabad High Court’s special Ayodhya bench Monday issued a dissenting note on the order issued by his two co-judges and allowed postponement of the verdict on the long-pending Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhoomi row.

Justice Dharma Veer Sharma also disagreed with his co-judges of the Lucknow bench of the court — Justice S.U. Khan and Justice Sudhir Aggarwal — on the question of exploring an out-of-court settlement on the issue and rooted for mediation or conciliation.

The bench is slated to give its verdict on the case Friday.

Justice Sharma was not in agreement with the ruling of his colleagues to impose a fine of Rs.50,000 on the parties who sought a postponement.

Justice Sharma, who had refrained from signing the Sep 17 order issued by the special bench turning down the plea for postponement of the final verdict slated for Sep 24, said parties involved in the case must be given the freedom to try and work out an amicable settlement even until Sep 23.

The judge also pointedly accused his co-judges of not consulting him before taking the decision to reject the application seeking deferment of the verdict and making an effort towards an amicable out-of-court settlement.

“I am sorry to say that I was not consulted by my brother judges before they passed their order; otherwise I would have expressed my views then itself,” Sharma has stated in his order.

“In its order dated July 27, the special bench had unanimously given top priority to efforts for trying to resolve the issue through mediation or conciliation even until a day before the proposed pronouncement of the final verdict on Sep 24.”

Justice Sharma has also taken strong exception to certain remarks by his co-judges in their order dated Sep 17 about “mischievous intentions” behind the plea for postponement and an out-of-court settlement.

“I do not see any mischievous intention behind the move,” he pointed out while stressing that the fine of Rs.50,000 slapped on the applicant by the bench was also not in consonance with law.

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