Ayodhya verdict: An unprecedented move by judges

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NEW DELHI: Ahead of the ruling in the Ayodhya land dispute case, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, CJI-designate S A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan got an unprecedented briefing from UP’s chief secretary and director general of police on Friday on steps taken to ensure law and order in Ayodhya.

Despite comforting words from Hindu and Muslim leaders to the faithful to take the verdict with equanimity and peace, the CJI and the two other judges thought it fit to understand from the top bureaucrat and policeman about deployment of security forces in sensitive areas to prevent any untoward situation in Ayodhya or any part of the state. The judges are part of the five-judge bench which will deliver its verdict on the case on Saturday.
The other two judges are Justices D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer. The chief secretary and the DGP informed the CJI, in a closed-door meeting that lasted more than an hour, about deployment of over 4,000 paramilitary forces in Ayodhya. The judges were also informed that Rapid Action Force would keep continuous vigil at 78 hotspots identified by the administration going by past experience of such situations.

The top SC judges were also briefed about crowd management during the Kartik Purnima snan(bath) falling on November 11, for which thousands of devotees have descended on the temple town. The chief secretary informed that the state has issued warnings against circulation of fake news, morphed pictures, doctored videos or any inflammatory material, which would attract strong penal action.