SC stays Allahabad HC verdict on Ayodhya title suit

A two-member Supreme Court bench, while terming the high court’s judgement “as something strange,” said the partition of the land was ordered despite none of the parties to the dispute seeking it

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed the Allahabad High Court’s verdict dividing in three parts the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, terming as “something strange” the judgement although the parties had not asked for trifurcation of the land, reports PTI.

The court, while staying the 30 September 2010 judgement of the Lucknow bench of the high court, ordered status quo at the site.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and RM Lodha, while terming the high court’s judgement “as something strange,” said the partition of the land was ordered despite none of the parties to the dispute seeking it.

While directing that there shall be no religious activity on the 67 acre land, acquired by the central government adjacent to the disputed structure, the apex court bench said the status quo shall be maintained with regard to the rest of the land.

In the wake of the court’s order, prayers at Ram Lala’s make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be going on as usual.

The Lucknow bench of the high court had in September last year passed the verdict directing partition of the 2.77 acre on which the disputed structure once stood into three parts among Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara.

“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,” the bench said.

Expressing surprise over the high court’s verdict, the bench observed, “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 litigations,” the bench observed.

Although the appeals filed by various Hindu and Muslim religious organisations pertained to only 2.77 acre of disputed land, the bench, however, also ordered status quo on the 67 acre of land adjacent to the disputed site.

The bench was hearing a batch of appeals filed by Nirmohi Akhara, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, Jamait Ulama-I-Hind and Sunni Central Wakf Board, besides the one filed on behalf of Bhagwan Ram Virajman.

The Wakf Board and Jamait Ulama-I-Hind have submitted that the high court’s verdict should be quashed as it was based on faith and not on evidence. They have contended that the court has committed an error by holding that the demolished Babri mosque stood at Lord Ram’s birth place.

They have contended that claims of Muslims, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara over the disputed site were mutually exclusive and could not be shared.

“It was nobody’s case in the high court that the Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara were in joint possession of the disputed premises. The claims of the three sets of plaintiffs were mutually exclusive in the sense each set of the plaintiffs claimed the entire property as its own and no one sought a decree for partition of the property,” the appeals have said.

The Hindu Mahasabha, on the other hand, has sought only partial annulment of the majority verdict of the high court, which ruled handing over one third of the disputed site to Muslims.

It has sought the apex court’s endorsement of the 30th September minority verdict by justice Dharam Veer Sharma who favoured handing over of the entire land to the Hindus.

“The judgement dated 30 September 2010 by justice SU Khan and justice Sudhir Agarwal should be set aside to the extent that one third of the property in dispute has been declared in favour of Muslims and to allot share to them in the decree,” the Hindu Mahasabha has said in its petition.

It has appealed to the apex court “to maintain the judgement passed by justice Dharam Veer Sharma” as the effective verdict.

A three-judge bench of the high court’s Lucknow bench had passed three separate judgements on 30th September with the majority verdict holding that the area covered by the central dome of the three-domed structure, where the idol of Lord Rama is situated, belongs to Hindus.

While justices Khan and Agarwal were of the view that the entire disputed land should be divided into three parts—one part each to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the parties representing ‘Ram Lala Virajman’, justice Sharma had held that the entire disputed area belongs to Hindus.

Earlier, Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal had also filed the appeal in the Supreme Court which refused to entertain it, saying the petition ‘is misconceived, hence dismissed”.

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SKS Microfinance open to SEBI probe into share fall

The surge in trading volumes and a heavy fall in the shares on a day when the company announced a loss after market hours was being viewed as an unusual event to the market surveillance authorities and accordingly, they have begun a preliminary probe

New Delhi: SKS Microfinance today said it will welcome any enquiry from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to probe the issues leading to a fall in its share price, while asserting that it has not heard anything so far from the regulator or the bourses, reports PTI.

The statement came in the midst of a sustained fall in shares of the country’s only listed microfinance company for the second straight day.

A 20% fall in SKS Microfinance’s share price on Friday, hours ahead of the company's fourth quarter results and after reports of its target share price being cut by more than half in an equity research report, is said to have come under the market regulatory authorities' surveillance lens.

The shares fell further today and were trading 16.99% down at Rs275 at 1330 hours, after hitting its 52-week low of Rs 272.50 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Commenting on reports of a possible SEBI probe into the sharp fall in SKS Microfinance stock, a company spokesperson said in a statement: “The company wishes to reiterate that it has not heard anything from either SEBI or the exchanges in this matter.”

The company, however, added that “an analyst report was released and flashed by the media prior to the board meeting to announce earnings on 6th May (where the company was unable to respond due to the earning announcement).”

Asserting that it has not heard anything so far from SEBI or the stock exchanges about any probe, the company said: “SKS Microfinance would welcome any enquiry by the regulator to investigate the circumstances leading to the fall in the share price.”

The 20% fall on Friday was coupled with about a 10-fold surge in the stock’s trading volumes, prompting the bourses and market regulator SEBI to consider a probe.

Sources had said the surge in trading volumes and a heavy fall in the shares on a day when the company announced a loss after market hours was being viewed as an unusual event to the market surveillance authorities and accordingly, they have begun a preliminary probe.

The matter is being probed for a possible breach of insider trading rules or hammering by a bear cartel, sources added.

The fall coincided with a strong upward trend in the market, when the BSE Sensex rose by over 300 points, and happened a couple of days after the RBI said that bank loans to microfinance lenders would be categorised as priority sector lending.

The stock witnessed heavy trading volumes today as well, with a total traded quantity of more than three times what was seen on Friday by early afternoon at the two exchanges.

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Commodities rally after five-day slump

After the biggest weekly slump since 2008, commodities have finally broken the losing streak.

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