New Delhi:  A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, has cleared the way for the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court to pronounce verdict on the Ayodhya title suit case.

The apex court, in a unanimous decision, has rejected a petition to defer verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case. The petition, filed by retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chand Tripathi, had sought that the verdict be deferred to allow the contesting parties to arrive at an out-of-court settlement.

The High Court is expected to give verdict on the afternoon of Thursday, September 30. One of the three judges on the Lucknow bench hearing the title suit, DV Sharma, retires on Friday, October 1.

Welcoming the Supreme court order today, Zafaryab Jilani, Convenor of the Convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee, said, "all major litigants wanted this."


Mukul Rohtagi, representing petitioner Tripathi, had argued that the Centre "has acted merely as it is a receiver of the property" - a proactive stand has to be taken by the Centre, he said. 

Last week, for the first time in the 60-year-old case, the union government was made a party to the case and its views were presented in court by the Attorney General, who said that the Centre would welcome a settlement but did not want uncertainty.

Rohatgi argued that the Supreme Court  "must experiment to come up with an innovative solution."

A main party in the case- the Nirmohi Akhara - also wanted the court to defer the verdict by three months to allow for reconciliation.

But a majority of the parties in the case on both sides, including the Central Board of Wakfs, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and the All-India Hindu Maha Sabha pleaded for vacating the stay and allowing the High Court to pronounce the verdict.

"The difference between Mandir group and Masjid group are so diverse. That's why we want the judgement to be pronounced," said Anoop Chaudhri, senior lawyer for Sunni Central Board of Waqf Board, UP.

There were 27 respondents in the case.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, which heard and rejected the petition today, comprised Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice KS Radhakrishnan.