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SC allows replacement of worn-out material at Ayodhya temple

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The Supreme Court on Monday permitted changing of the worn-out material of the make-shift structure covering the Ram temple at the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya.

“We direct that the authorised person/commissioner Faizabad is permitted to replace the old and worn-out tarpaulin sheet, jute matting, bamboo, polythene sheet and ropes over the makeshift structure by new ones of the same size and quality and exactly in the same manner as they were previously placed,” the court said.

A bench of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice R. Banumathi said the new material would be put up in the presence of two observers.

The court’s order came as counsel Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for one of the petitioners, agreed with the plea saying that the same was done in the past also on the directions of the court.

The court gave the Centre six weeks to take a decision as it was informed that one of the two observers T.M. Khan has already completed his five-year term and he has to be replaced by a new person.

The court also asked its registry to make available compact discs of the digitised records of the case. The direction came as the court declined a plea for inspection of records.

While refusing to hear the matter out of turn, the court said: “The pleadings should be complete and the appeals must be ripe for hearing.”

The matter is rooted in the cross petitions challenging the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit case.

By the said verdict, the high court had ordered the division of the disputed plot into three parts — one for Ram Lalla, one for the Nirmohi Akhara and one for the Sunni Waqf Board. The apex court had stayed this verdict on May 9, 2011.