U.P. Chief Secretary, DGP meet CJI; discuss security ahead of Ayodhya verdict

The judgment is expected before Chief Justice Gogoi is scheduled to retire on November 17.

Updated - November 08, 2019 10:13 pm IST

Published - November 08, 2019 09:50 am IST - New Delhi

Rapid Action Force and Uttar Pradesh Police personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya on November 6, 2019.

Rapid Action Force and Uttar Pradesh Police personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya on November 6, 2019.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Friday had a meeting in the Supreme Court with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R.K.Tiwari and Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh to discuss the security measures in place ahead of the much-anticipated pronouncement of judgment in the Ayodhya appeals case.

The judgment is expected before Chief Justice Gogoi is scheduled to retire on November 17. 

Mr. Tiwari and Mr. Singh were seen entering the court premises before noon. They were closeted with the CJI for less than an hour. They left together after the meeting.

The judgment of the five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi is expected to decide who the true owners of the 2.77 acre land are. Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born there and Muslims claim the land their own because Babri Masjid once stood there before kar sevaks demolished it on December 6. 1992. The dispute over the land goes back to several decades and has seen manifold legal battles.

Chief Justice Gogoi’s Friday meeting with the State’s top bureaucrat and DGP is seen as an uncharacteristic gesture. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the duty of a judge is to deliver judgments and leave the law and order concerns to the State and police machinery.

An example of the Supreme Court’s firm position that judges should deliver judgments, unmindful of the “consequences” of their verdict, is found in the annals of the Ayodhya case itself.

September 2010 event

The event dates back to September 2010, and concerns a petition filed by Ramesh Chandra Tripathi to defer the scheduled pronouncement of the Ayodhya judgment by the Allahabad High Court at 3.30 p.m. on September 24. 

Mr. Tripathi had claimed the judgment would lead to communal tensions. He had sought a stay on the High Court’s pronouncement and let mediation take over.

The petition found the Supreme Court in two minds initially. A split verdict saw Justice R.V. Raveendran favour the pronouncement of the judgment as per schedule. He reasoned that “people of the country are not so immature as to not accept a judgment”.

But his colleague on the Bench, Justice H.L. Gokhale, was apprehensive that the judgment would lead to “consequences” and ordinary people may suffer. Justice Gokhale felt the Supreme Court would be blamed if “passions rise” after the verdict. Faced with a split verdict, the Bench stayed the pronouncement of the judgment on September 24 and referred the case to a larger Bench.

A few days later, a three-judge Bench led by then CJI S.H. Kapadia took up Mr. Tripathi’s petition. During the half-day hearing, senior advocate Soli J. Sorabjee reminded the court that “judges deliver judgments according to facts, law and conscience, they shall not worry of the consequences”. Shortly after, the Kapadia Bench promptly dismissed the case without bothering to give any reasons. 

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