Oct 18 deadline for Ayodhya case: SC

Thu 19 Sep 2019, 12:14:47
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday set an October 18 deadline for conclusion of hearings in the protracted Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land title dispute, a move that has raised the possibility of a verdict in the politically sensitive case in the middle of November. The target date for completion of arguments by both the Hindu and Muslim sides assumes significance as Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is heading the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the case, is due to demit office on November 17.

The apex court also said the parties to the dispute can amicably resolve the matter through mediation if they want to but told lawyers from both the sides that it wanted to conclude the day-to-day hearings by October 18 so that the judges get almost four weeks to write the judgment. The Court on Tuesday asked the counsels for the Hindu and Muslim parties to inform it about a tentative "time schedule" for concluding their arguments. The Constitution bench, which also comprised Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, also said it has received a letter from former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, who was heading the three-member mediation panel, in which it was stated that some parties have written to him for resumption of the mediation process.

There is an ancillary issue. We have received a letter that some parties want to settle the matter by way of mediation," the bench said, adding they may do so and the proceedings before the mediation panel can remain confidential. The bench said the day-to-day proceedings in the land dispute case have reached "an advanced stage" and will continue.

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