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CJI Ranjan Gogoi holds unusual meeting on Ayodhya verdict eve

Never before has any CJI met senior bureaucrats behind closed doors before the pronouncement of any judgment

By R. Balaji and PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 9.11.19, 6:16 AM
  • Updated 9.11.19, 6:16 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Police conduct searches near the disputed site in Ayodhya on Friday. (PTI)

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday held an unprecedented meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and director-general of police Om Prakash Singh, apparently to discuss security ahead of the Ayodhya verdict on Saturday.

Never before has any Chief Justice of India met senior bureaucrats behind closed doors before the pronouncement of any judgment.

The Chief Justice’s office issued no media statement on the meeting, which lasted nearly an hour in the afternoon, or its content.

Sources, however, told The Telegraph the meeting was held to brief Justice Gogoi on the security arrangements being made in the heartland state to avert any possible mischief after the verdict is pronounced.

Justice S.A. Bobde, the Chief Justice-designate, is understood to have been present briefly at the meeting.

Later in the evening, a notice uploaded on the Supreme Court website scheduled the verdict for Saturday.

A five-judge constitution bench of Justices Gogoi, Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer had on October 16 reserved its verdict on the land dispute relating to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

If three judges take one view and two others a different one, the majority view would be the binding verdict for all.

PM’s appeal

Late on Friday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Supreme Court verdict would not be a matter of victory or loss for anyone.

“I appeal to countrymen that it should be our priority to strengthen our tradition of maintaining peace and harmony after Ayodhya verdict. In the run-up to Ayodhya verdict, efforts have been made by various people and organisations to maintain harmonious atmosphere. We have to maintain amity even after the Ayodhya verdict,” Modi said.

Security tightened

Elaborate security arrangements have been made across the country ahead of the Supreme Court judgment.

Authorities said social media posts will be monitored to ensure that no attempt is made to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading fake or inflammatory content and necessary arrangements have been made to ensure safety and security of religious places.

Section 144 has been imposed across Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh government announced closure of all educational and training institutes till Monday.

Multi-layered security arrangements have been put in place in the temple town of Ayodhya. Drones and CCTV cameras were also being used to monitor the situation.

Clerics and priests of various faiths also renewed their appeal to people to honour the Supreme Court verdict and respect religious sentiments. “We should all respect the judgment. We should exercise restraint and not hurt religious sentiments of any community,” Imam of the Lucknow Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali told PTI.

He appealed to all clerics to tell Muslims “not to feel afraid and repose their faith in the Constitution and the judiciary”.

The spokesperson for the All India Shia Personal Law Board, Maulana Yasoob Abbas, said: “Every person irrespective of any religion must honour and respect the judgment of the Supreme Court.”

The priest at the Dakshinmukhi Hanuman Mandir in Hazratganj, Sarvesh Shukla, said: “My only appeal to the people is to honour and respect the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case.”

Father Donald De Souza, Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow told PTI: “Ours is a functional democracy, and rule of law has to be followed by all. The court’s judgment has to be fully respected by everyone without any bias.”