New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Saturday its verdict in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya.
The apex court is likely to pronounce judgement at 10:30 am. A notice regarding the pronouncement by a Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was uploaded on the website of the court late on Friday evening. Other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
The Bench on October 16 had reserved the judgement after a marathon hearing of 40 days. Hours before the notice, the CJI in the pre-noon held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and DGP Om Prakash Singh, who apprised him about the security arrangements made to maintain law and order in the State.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made across the country while the temple town remained on edge and political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and religious leaders urged people to maintain peace and respect the verdict.
Prime Minister Modi said the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya would not be 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 Ayodhya verdict,” Modi said.
The Uttar Pradesh government announced closure of all educational and training institutes till Monday. Multi-layered security arrangements have been put in place in Ayodhya, which has been turned into a fortress with deployment of 60 companies (90-125 personnel each) of the PAC and paramilitary forces. Drones and CCTV cameras were also being used to monitor the situation.
In a related development, the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration of Noida said social media posts and WhatsApp messages that incite communal hatred or violence would draw severe punishment, including jail term, for offenders.
The offenders would not only be arrested but action against them would be taken under the Gangsters Act and the National Security Act (NSA), District Magistrate BN Singh said.
Authorities said social media posts would be monitored to ensure that no attempt was made to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading fake or inflammatory content, and necessary arrangements were made to ensure safety and security of religious places.