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Supreme Court wants to complete Ayodhya case hearing by 18 October

  • Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim parties, said he is likely to finish his side of arguments by this weekend and may take another two days to argue on the civil suit
  • Subsequently, the counsels for Hindu parties said they would need another 4-5 days

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it shall endeavour to complete the hearing in the Ram Janambhoombhi-Babri Masjid land dispute case by 18 October. The five-judge constitutional bench said it hoped the parties would stick to the schedule and conclude the arguments on time.

“Let us make a joint effort to complete it by October 18,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, adding that the court is ready to sit an hour extra everyday and even on Saturdays to complete the hearing, if needed.

On the 26th day of the day-to-day hearing, all parties submitted a tentative schedule of their arguments.

Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim parties, said he is likely to finish his side of arguments by this weekend and may take another two days to argue on the civil suit. Subsequently, the counsels for Hindu parties said they would need another 4-5 days.

Chief Justice Gogoi retires on 17 November, hence the panel will get time one month to draft the judgement once arguments are concluded on 18 October.

The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Gogoi and comprising justices S.A. Bopde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, said in case the parties were still willing to settle the case mutually and pursue mediation, they were at liberty to do so. The mediation details need to be confidential and the settlement should be placed before the Supreme Court. The court, however, clarified that the mediation can go “simultaneously along with the hearing”.

So far, 14 appeals have been filed before the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad high court judgment, which said 22.7 acre of the disputed land should be equally divided among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On 6 December 1992, Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque, was demolished by Hindu groups who want a Ram temple built at the site.

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