Trial only way out of Babri dispute?

The last-gasp effort to create room for an out-of-court settlement in the vexed row over ownership of the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya appears to have no takers, with main parties like Sunni Waqf Board and Hindu Mahasabha filing affidavits in Supreme Court giving it a thumbs down. Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, defendant in one of the title suits whose plea led the SC to stop the Allahabad HC from delivering its verdict, stands isolated, with all other parties concerned set to tell the SC on Tuesday that Allahabad HC, which was scheduled to give its verdict on September 24, be allowed to pronounce its judgment on the four title suits.

Attorney general G E Vahanvati is likely to take a “no comments” stand, given the anxiety of the government not to be seen as a party eager to attempt an amicable solution to the dispute with an overt religious dimension.

This would leave very little room for the Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan to carry on from where the Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale left on September 23.

Though the two-judge Bench was split over entertaining the appeal, it, honouring an in-house tradition, decided to entertain Tripathi’s plea, issuing notices to the parties. Given the difference of opinion, the judges referred it to a larger Bench. What could possibly seal the fate of Tripathi’s plea is that the five or six parties to the title suits who had pledged support to his stand have backed out at the last minute. “The parties have at the last minute refused to file affidavits in support of the appellant,” Tripathi’s counsel Sunil Jain said. The responses filed by Sunni Central Board for Waqfs in UP, another plaintiff in the title suit Mohd Hasim and a defendant All India Hindu Mahasabha clearly stressed the futility of starting negotiations.

‘Resolve dispute or accept verdict’

The UPA government urged for a peaceful solution to Babri demolition case asking both the parties to resolve the issue through discussions. “The Centre is finding only two ways to solve the dispute. First, the two contesting parties must come for talks to find an amicable solution. If it doesn’t happen, they should accept court’s verdict,” Pranab Mukherjee said.

Key party moves SC for deferment . After petitioner Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, who had sought deferment of the Ayodhya verdict, another key party in the matter Nirmohi Akhara plans to move Supreme Court for postponement of the judgment for three months to facilitate an out-of-court amicable settlement, a lawyer said on Monday.


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