Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, member of the three-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, expressed his disagreement with the order rejecting the plea for deferring the verdict to allow mediation.
Justice Sharma, who reserved his verdict on September 17, gave a dissenting opinion on Monday that the parties involved in the dispute were free to resolve it amicably before the judgment day on September 24.
Earlier, the other two members of the bench — Justices S.U. Khan and Sudhir Agarwal — rejected the plea by Ramesh Chandra Tripathi for deferment of the verdict, saying the application lacked bona fide and had been moved to divert and deviate the issue.
Tripathi had moved the application on September 13. Later, although Nirmohi Akhara supported the plea, the other parties, including the Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha, rejected any out-of-court settlement and wanted the verdict to be given on September 24.
Justice Sharma, while not concurring with the September 17 ruling, said, “I am sorry to state that at the time of the passing of the order, I was not consulted. Otherwise, I would have given my views to honourable brother judges.”
He also questioned in his eight-page order the question of the R50,000 cost imposed on Tripathi, saying law did not allow imposition of a penalty of more than R3,000.
During the September 17 hearing, the court observed that if 85 per cent of the parties involved agreed to an out-of-court settlement even on the judgment day — but before the announcement of verdict — they could defer the verdict.
But the court order, rejecting the deferment application had no mention of the earlier observation, as the majority of the parties opposed a compromise. But Justice Sharma said, “The parties can compromise even after the delivery of the judgment … Thus, I direct the parties to resolve the dispute before the delivery of the judgment.”