At 2pm sharp the chief justice of India walked into the courtroom and uttered just two words-''SLP dismissed.'' The order brings another chapter in the vexed Ayodhya dispute, albeit a short one, to a close.
Preliminary reports suggest that the deferred verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court will now be delivered on 30 September 2010 at 3.30pm.
The Special Leave Petition, filed by retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, attempted to postpone delivery of a verdict by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court in a title suit which relates to ownership of 2.77 acres of land in the pilgrimage town of Ayodhya, which sections of the Muslim and Hindu community claim as their own.
The dispute, that goes back in time atleast hundreds of years, was first put up before independent India's courts on 16 January 1950. Only one of the original petitioners survives to this day. In the meantime other parties have empanelled themselves as parties to the dispute under one guise or the other.
The respondents in today's appeal, almost unanimously, rejected the argument put up by the petitioner that an attempt be made to reconcile parties opposed to each other. It was pointed out that all previous attempts, and there were many, had failed in the past. The bona fides of the petitioner were questioned as well.
It is known that the petitioner has been an 'absentee' party in the dispute showing no inclinations to attend hearings at the High Court, including hearings called by that respected court to attempt reconciliation.
With the obstacle removed, the Allahabad High Court will now announce the date when the judgement may be delivered by the Lucknow bench in this matter. It has to be kept in mind that one of the judges of the three member bench of the High Court, justice DV Sharma, retires after attending court on 1 October 2010. So, technically, there are three days still for judgement to be delivered.
It is heartening to note that virtually all sections of political opinion have expressed their confidence in the maturity of the people to accept the verdict whenever it is delivered.