The trio behind the Ayodhya ruling

Lucknow, Sep 30: The three judges – two Hindus and a Muslim – of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court who Thursday authored the long-awaited verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute:

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma: He is the one who gave a dissenting verdict and refrained from signing the Sep 17 order issued by the special bench turning down the plea for postponement of the final verdict slated for Sep 24. In his view, parties involved in the case should have been given the freedom to try and work out an amicable settlement.

Justice Sharma, 62, retires on Oct 1, 2010 after pronouncing the most important verdict of his life.

He was chief law officer of the Uttar Pradesh Financial Corporation from July 1989 to October 1991. After a long stint with the state administration, he was made district and sessions judge in 2002 and elevated to Allahabad High Court in 2005.

The judge, who can always be spotted in a white dhoti-kurta or white shirt and trousers, is a vegetarian who cooks for himself — and occasionally for colleagues and friends. He stays with his elder sister.

Justice Sudhir Agarwal: At 52, Justice Sudhir Agarwal is the youngest of the three judges on the bench. His way of life are quite a contrast to Justice Sharma. A man of many interest, Justice Agarwal reads comics, likes watching TV soaps and mixes with friends and colleagues from the bar.

A stickler for courtroom etiquette, Justice Agarwal is said to prefer English — even when he is outside the courtroom.

He has a flair for civil law, tax and service matters. His judgments are focused and to the point.

A 1977 science graduate of Agra University, Justice Agarwal did his law from Meerut University (now Chaudhary Charan Singh University) in 1980 and the same year moved to Allahabad High Court to pursue his legal practice.

In 2005, he was moved to the bench and confirmed as a judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2007.

Justice Sibghat Ullah Khan: Justice Khan did his law from Alligarh Muslim University in 1977 and the same year he moved to Allahabad High court to start his practice.

Justice Khan, 58, practiced in Allahabad High Court for 27 years before he moved to the bench of the high court in 2002 as a permanent judge.

He has a strong sense of history and the role of law in shaping it. He is equally strong on wit which has always endeared him to his colleagues and friends in equal measure.

He has always advocated out of court settlement than prolonged litigations. Nearly 2,000 cases are said to have been settled by mediation on his initiative.

He has exhorted the legal fraternity and others not to shy away from the pronouncement of verdict in the title case of the long-pending dispute.