Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday said that hearing in the Ayodhya case is likely to be completed by October 18. He also said that the Supreme Court is still open to the idea of mediation panel in the case. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it has received a letter from former Supreme Court judge F M I Kalifulla, who was heading the three-member mediation panel, saying some parties have written to him for resumption of the mediation process. The observation came after the top court asked both sides to indicate a tentative timeline for completion of their arguments in the case.
“The Bench is hopeful, let us all make joint efforts,” CJI Gogoi said. The Supreme Court has also said that the proceedings will still remain confidential, should both sides opt for mediation. Rajeev Dhavan, appearing on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute matter, once again objected to intervention by Subramanian Swamy, saying it will open a flood gate if just one party is allowed to intervene.
The day-to-day hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case began in the Supreme Court on August 7 with the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu religious denomination, claiming Muslims had not prayed at the disputed site in Ayodhya since 1934. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, started hearing the matter. The Allahabad High Court, in its judgment of 2010 on four civil lawsuits, had partitioned the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the verdict.