Ayodhya case: HC seeks clarity from apex court on observers

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SummaryThe Allahabad High Court has moved the Supreme Court, seeking to be heard in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

The Allahabad High Court has moved the Supreme Court, seeking to be heard in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

Moving an application to be impleaded as a party in the bunch of appeals against the 2010 High Court verdict, the Registrar General has sought a clarification from the apex court if the observers, appointed by it for “maintenance of the transparency” of the excavation proceedings at the disputed site in Ayodhya, were still required to visit the site and file reports.

The two observers — then additional district judges — were appointed by the HC by an order in March 2003 when it ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct excavation at the disputed site to confirm the third issue framed in the civil suits: “whether there was any temple/structure which was demolished and mosque was constructed on the disputed site.”

The HC panel also comprised three archaeologists. It was asked to have a close vigil on the excavation work, which was carried out with the help of about 130 labourers, having an equal ratio of Muslims and Hindus. Citing Ground Penetrating Radar survey and excavations, the ASI report had indicated remnants of some pre-existing structure beneath the working floor of the demolished structure.

The HC, in a majority judgment, had in September 2010 ruled for a three-way division of the “roughly 15,000 square feet site” occupied by the mosque before its demolition on December 6, 1992 — one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for Ram Lalla.

However, admitting the bunch of appeals, the SC had in May 2011 stayed the operation of the HC verdict in the 60-year-old Ayodhya dispute and declared status quo on the title of the disputed land.

The HC has now told the apex court that the need for clarification has arisen since the two observers were still visiting the site every fortnight and preparing reports. At present, an Officer on Special Duty in the HC and a retired district judge who is currently the chairman of permanent Lok Adalat, Varanasi, are functioning as the observers.

“Since the main purpose for which the observers were appointed, ie maintenance of transparency during escavation work, is over and suits have also been decided on September 30, 2010, and with final disposal of the above suits and passing of final decree, every

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