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SC gives nod to tarpaulin change, says don’t disturb status quo

The apex court on Monday permitted the authorities to change the tarpaulin and ropes at Lord Rama’s make-shift temple in Ayodhya sans disturbing the status quo on the 67 acre land adjacent to the disputed site.

A bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said the tarpaulin sheet and ropes of the same size as placed presently could be changed with new ones at the site of make-shift temple under the supervision of the two observers.

The bench said two judicial officers appointed by the Allahabad HC in March 2003 as Commissioners to keep it (High Court updated about the situation there in Ayodhya) would supervise as observer for the change of tarpaulin and ropes.

The bench said the two judicial officers would ‘additionally see that the order of status quo is duly maintained’.

It declined the plea of the Registrar of the High Court to relieve the judicial officers from performing their duty as Commissioners.

The Registrar had made an application stating that since the issues relating to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya was now before the SC, the two judicial officers, who had been appointed as Commissioners on HC order, should be relieved of their duty.

The judicial officers were assigned to visit the place fortnightly for keeping it updated about the situation.

The bench also said it would not allow any impleadment in the matter and would only hear those who are party to it. The SC during the last hearing on the matter on 28 Jan had also made it clear that status quo ordered on 67 acre land adjacent to the disputed site in Ayodhya should not be disturbed while carrying out excavation activity in the vicinity.
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