The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Monday called upon the rival parties to explore the possibility of a last-minute amicable settlement of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
The order was passed on an application moved by senior advocate Prashant Chandra on the 125-year old litigation over claims by Hindus and Muslims to the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Even as a three-judge special bench of the high court is to pronounce the verdict in the case Sep 24, Justice Dharam Veer Sharma chose to hear the application and pass an order.
The high court registry had refused to accept the application on the ground that only one of the three judges was available as the other two Justice S.U. Khan and Justice Sudhir Agarwal were currently holding court in Allahabad.
While issuing the order, Justice Sharma emphasised a 1994 ruling by a five-judge Supreme Court bench on a petition moved by M. Ismail Farooqui against acquisition of all land by the union government in and around the disputed Ayodhya site after the demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque in December 1992.
The apex court had then favoured an amicable settlement of the issue.
The case was cited by the petitioner Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, who aroused apprehensions that any verdict at this juncture could vitiate the communal environment across the country.
Prashant Chandra argued that the fallout of the judgement could adversely affect the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, hence it was advisable to postpone the verdict for now.
Emphasising that the Supreme Court ruling needed to be adhered to by all courts across the country, Justice Sharma ordered that the application be placed before the full three-judge bench Sep 16.
Earlier in the day, advocates Neeraj Kumar Srivastava and Jaspreet Singh had prepared separate applications urging the court to defer the verdict, expressing fears that the judgement could vitiate the communal environment across the country.
“In view of the prevailing situation across the country, we are seeking postponement of the verdict scheduled to be pronounced Sep 24,” Srivastava told reporters here.
Rival claims by Hindu and Muslim groups to the site led to the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid by Hindu mobs Dec 6, 1992, triggering widespread communal violence that left thousands dead across the country.