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CJI Sets October 18 Target to Conclude Arguments in Ayodhya Case, Says Willing to Work Extra Hours

The Ayodhya Bench in the Supreme Court is headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:September 18, 2019, 11:41 AM IST
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CJI Sets October 18 Target to Conclude Arguments in Ayodhya Case, Says Willing to Work Extra Hours
File photo of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. (PTI)

New Delhi: The possibility of a verdict in the protracted Ram janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute by mid-November brightened up on Wednesday with the Supreme Court fixing the deadline of October 18 for completion of arguments in the case.

The Ayodhya Bench in the Supreme Court is headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17. If the judgment is not delivered before his retirement, the entire matter would have to be heard afresh.

On Wednesday, the CJI, after consulting the lawyers from both the sides, said he is hopeful that arguments can conclude by October 18.

“Let us all make joint efforts to complete it by October 18. If the need arises, we are ready to sit on Saturdays and some extra hours on weekdays to complete it," observed Justice Gogoi.

The timeline comes a day after the Constitution Bench had sought to know from all parties in the case about a tentative time frame for completing their arguments.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who has been leading the submissions on behalf of the Muslim side, said they would complete the arguments by the end of next week and will then take a day or two to argue their own civil suit.

From the Hindu side, Ram Lalla Virajman's lawyers said they will take two days while other parties this side said a couple of days more should be enough to complete their arguments.

Subsequently, the five judges on the Bench had a brief discussion among themselves and the deadline of October 18 was arrived at.

About a letter written by the mediation panel to the Bench, the court said parties are free to resort to settlement and if any settlement can be reached, it can be placed before it.

The panel had written to the Bench after the UP Sunni Waqf Board chairman wrote to the panel for resumption of mediation to give it one more shot. However, the Bench made it clear that the entire settlement proceedings will remain confidential as before.

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