SC Looks to Conclude Hearing in Ayodhya Case Today, Brings Forward Deadline Again
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has been hearing the case for 39 days and had earlier set the deadline to finish arguments on October 18.
A file photo of the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it looks forward to conclude the hearing in the politically sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case on Wednesday and asked the parties to wrap up their arguments.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has been hearing the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit for 39 days and had earlier set the deadline to finish arguments on October 18. This was later brought forward to October 17, but the CJI on Tuesday indicated that it would like to conclude all arguments by Wednesday instead of Thursday.
Giving the time frame to the concerned parties, the apex court said it would extend the hearing duration and sit till 5pm on Wednesday to give time for final submissions and rejoinders to the Hindu and Muslim parties. The court also sat till 5pm on Tuesday.
The judgment will be reserved by the bench if the arguments conclude. The bench, also comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer will have to pronounce the ruling by November 17 as the CJI will retire on that date. If the judgment is not delivered before his retirement, the entire matter would have to be heard afresh.
The CJI has previously said the bench will have only four weeks to write the judgment and it will be a “miracle” if the court delivers the judgment in this time frame.
The court had sped up the hearing in the case that was pending for decades and conducted day-to-day hearing, including miscellaneous days reserved for other matters, to ensure that the bench arrives at a verdict.
The top court is hearing appeals against the September 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court. The high court had divided the disputed 2.77 acres of land, including the spot where the Babri Masjid stood until December 6, 1992, and the area around it, equally among the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and Ramlalla Virajman.
The bid to arrive at a negotiated settlement to the dispute via a mediation process failed after Ramlalla Virajman said no to further mediation. Days later, the side arguing for the mosque also turned down an invitation by the Supreme Court-appointed mediators.
With the closing in of the verdict, the Ayodhya administration has tightened curbs imposed under Section 144 till December 10.
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