SC stays Ayodhya verdict, calls order to split land 'strange'

Dubbing as "strange" the Allahabad High Court's verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court today stayed its operation saying none of the parties had demanded partition of the land.

"A new dimension was given by the High Court as the decree of partition was not sought by the parties. It was not prayed by anyone. It has to be stayed. It's a strange order," a Bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R M Lodha observed while staying the September 30 order of the High Court.

It expressed surprise over how the High Court could pass such an order when it was not prayed by anyone.

"How can a decree of partition be passed when none of the parties had prayed for it. Court has done something on its own. It's strange. Such kind of decrees cannot be allowed to be in operation," the Bench said while staying the High Court's verdict.

"It is a difficult situation now. The position is that it (the High Court verdict) has created litany of litigation," the Bench observed.

While ordering status quo at the site, which means that prayers at Ram Lala's make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be going on as usual, the Court restrained any kind of religious activity on the adjacent 67 acre land, which had been taken over by the Centre.

All parties to the suit expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court order.

Counsel for various parties, including Lord Rama Lalla Virajman, Hindu Maha Sabha and Sunni Waqf Board, expressed satisfaction over the apex court's interim order saying that none of the parties had sought division of the 2.77 acre land.

Sunni Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani said, "We are satisfied with today's order of the Supreme Court... This will help in maintaining peaceful position in the country."

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