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Ayodhya: Third judge favours out-of-court settlement

Last updated on: September 20, 2010 14:10 IST

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Monday passed a dissenting order against the order passed by two other judges -- S U Khan and Sudhir Agarwal -- against postponing the Ayodhya case verdict, on September 17.

Sharma claimed that the two judges passed the order without consulting him and there is still room for exploring the option of an out-of-court settlement.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had on Friday refused to defer its verdict on the title suit of the disputed site at Ayodhya.

The court had dismissed an application seeking an out-of-court settlement of the Ayodhya title suit, which was filed a couple of days ago.

It had also imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, who had sought a court order directing both parties to settle the matter out-of-court or even take the matter into arbitration, as the fallout of this verdict could be violent.

Sharma has refused to agree with the decision of his colleagues to impose a fine of Rs  50,000 on the parties which had sought the postponement of the final verdict slated for September 24, while stressing  on the need for settling the dispute through mediation or conciliation.

Sharma had refrained from signing the order issued by the special bench on September 17. He believes that the parties involved in the case must be granted the freedom to try and work out an amicable settlement.

In the nine-page order , the judge also pointedly accused his co-judges of not  consulting him before taking the decision to reject the application seeking deferment of the verdict. "I am sorry to say that I was not consulted by my brother judges before they passed their order, otherwise I would have expressed my views then itself," Sharma has stated in his order.

According to him, "In its order dated July 27, the special bench had unanimously given top priority to efforts for trying to resolve the issue through mediation or conciliation even until a day before the proposed  pronouncement of the final verdict on September 24."

Justice Sharma has also taken strong exception to certain remarks made by his two co-judges, in their order dated  September 17, about 'mischievous  intentions' behind the plea for postponement and an out-of-court settlement.

"I do not see any mischievous intention behind the move," he said, while stressing that the fine of Rs 50,000 slapped on the applicant by the bench was also not in consonance with law.

Incidentally, Justice Sharma had on September 14 admitted the application moved by one of the parties, Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, for deferment of the verdict.

Sharat Pradhan In Lucknow