The Centre on Monday sought more time from the Supreme Court to evolve a consensus on its plan to install a bullet-proof structure around the idol of 'Ram Lalla' at the disputed site at Ayodhya to strengthen its security.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian told a Bench headed by Justice KG Balakrishnan that the Centre was in talks with Uttar Pradesh Government and other parties to arrive at a consensus on the issue and and the process was still on.
This is for the third time that the Centre, which approached the court in July seeking permission to carry out certain constructions to strengthen the security of the disputed site and the idol, has sought time from the court on the issue.
The court's permission for carrying out any construction in the disputed complex was needed in view of its earlier order to maintain status quo there.
With the Centre seeking more time, the plan, including installation of close circuit television and construction of concrete bunkers at the disputed site, seems to have been put on the backburner at least for the next few months.
Barely few days after Centre moved the court for permission to implement its security plan, Mohd Aslam alias Bhure, known for his legal interventions in the Ayodhya case, filed a petition against it in the court.
His counsel MM Kashyap alleged that the Centre was buying time in view of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections likely to be held early next year. He said Bhure wanted to file his objections to the Centre's plan.
The court adjourned the case for four weeks to enable the parties to file their affidavits and counter-affidavits.
Various Muslim groups and leaders have been opposing the Centre's move on the ground that the proposed over Rs 2.89 crore civil work, would convert the makeshift temple into a "confirmed Ram temple" even before the final decision of title suits by Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench.
Aslam has sought to restrain the Centre from going ahead with its plan, which included wooden roof with bullet-proof steel structure on four sides of 'Ram Lalla' and internal walls, as it would violate the status quo orders passed by the apex court in 1993, 1994 and 2003.
Interestingly, while moving the court for permission to implement the security plan necessitated by the threat posed by terrorists, the Centre had said that the decision was taken after discussions with the UP Government and various intelligence agencies.