Judges say application lacks merit, impose fine on petitioner
The Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday rejected a plea for deferment of the verdict in the Babri Masjid title suit and imposed a heavy fine on applicant Ramesh Chandra Tripathi. The judgment on the 60-year-old title suit will be pronounced at 3.30 p.m. on September 24. The court reserved its judgment on July 26.
The Special Bench, at its Bench of Judicature here, comprising Justices S.U. Khan, D.V. Sharma and Sudhir Agarwal, said that Mr. Tripathi's application lacked merit. It also imposed “exemplary costs” of Rs. 50,000, terming his effort for an out-of-court settlement as a “mischievous attempt.”
Before passing its order, the court sought the opinion of counsel for the contending parties on whether they supported the plea. They replied in the negative.
On July 27, the court took the initiative for an amicable solution to the dispute when it called on counsel for the contending parties to go into the possibility. But no headway was made.
Mr. Tripathi's application was filed on September 13 with the Officer on Special Duty (OSD). It expressed the apprehension that law and order problem might arise soon after the verdict.
The next day, the Special Bench called counsel to be present in the court on September 17 to go into the possibility of an amicable settlement.
Mr. Tripathi's plea was opposed by the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha and the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs, which submitted separate replies to the OSD on September 16. Stating that an amicable solution was not possible, they alleged that the application was mala fide.
Mr. Tripathi, a retired government employee belonging to Ambedkar Nagar district, is defendant number 17 in the title suit case. He was associated in the dispute since 1971.