NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its highly-anticipated verdict in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya on Saturday. The court is likely to pronounce its judgement at 10:30 am. The decision was taken by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in consultation with the four other judges deciding the case late this evening.
The five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. Earlier today, he had met top Uttar Pradesh officials to discuss law-and-order arrangements in this regard.The other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
There was no clarity on the date of the verdict until now, other than the fact that it would be delivered before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17. Justice SA Bobde, who will take over as the next Chief Justice, had called the Ayodhya case “one of the most important in the world”.
A notice regarding the pronouncement of judgement by a Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, was uploaded on the official website of the Supreme Court late on Friday.
Hours before the notice, the CJI on Friday held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and Director General of Police (DGP) Om Prakash Singh who apprised him about the security arrangements made to maintain law and order in the state.
The bench had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days in the decades-old temple-mosque dispute — the second longest proceedings in its history.
Appeals for peace have come from Hindu and Muslim organisations and various political leaders ahead of the verdict. While the home ministry has asked all states to be on alert, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a three-hour review meeting with top police and administration officials in Lucknow last night.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the closure of all schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres in the state from Saturday to Monday. Yogi Adityanath has asked for two helicopters to be on standby, one in Lucknow and one in Ayodhya, to tackle any possible emergency.
The dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, claimed by both Hindus and Muslims, has dominated political discourse since the 1980s. While Hindu activists want a temple to be rebuilt on the site, Muslim groups claim that there is no evidence to conclusively establish that the Babri mosque was built on the ruins of a temple.
Ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, senior RSS and BJP leaders had held a meeting with prominent Muslim clerics and intellectuals at the residence of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Delhi to stress that irrespective of the nature of the top court’s ruling, there should neither be ‘junooni jashn’ (excessive celebration) nor ‘haar ka hungama’ (brouhaha over defeat).
Meanwhile, Multi-layered security arrangements have been put in place in Ayodhya with drones being used to monitor the situation ahead of the apex court judgment in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.
Elaborating on the security arrangements, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) PV Ramasastry told PTI, “Adequate forces have been provided to Ayodhya and all sensitive districts of the state in good measure. The force has been sufficiently strengthened in terms of CAPF and PAC companies.”
“Stress has been laid on confidence-building measures,” he said, adding that police had undertaken patrolling and different sections of society, be it the dharma gurus, traders or academics had been contacted.”The basic aim of the outreach is to instil a feeling of security,” he said.
The entire town had been divided into 31 sectors and 35 sub-sectors, he said, adding that in case there was a surge of visitors, a “holding area” had been carved on the outskirts of the town so that people could be sent in batches for the darshan of Lord Ram. (Bureau Report With Agency Inputs ).