On September 18, the apex court said it will continue with the day-to-day hearing in the case. (File)
The counsel for deity 'Ram Lalla' told the Supreme Court on Monday that he did not want to participate in the mediation proceedings to amicably resolve the Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute case. Senior lawyer CS Vaidyantahan, appearing for deity 'Ram Lalla Virajman, referred to some media reports on mediation and said that he did not want to take part in the mediation any further and would like a judicial decision from the bench.
A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was hearing the decades-old sensitive case on the 34th day after commencing the day-to-day proceedings on August 6 after an earlier mediation process had failed.
On September 18, the apex court, however, said it will continue with the day-to-day hearing in the case and in the meantime, the parties can still go ahead with the mediation proceedings to resolve the dispute.
The bench had said it has received a letter from former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, who was heading the three-member mediation panel, saying that some parties have written to him for resuming the mediation process.
The court had said the parties may do so and proceedings before the mediation panel can remain confidential. The top court said the hearing in the case was at the fag end and it also wanted the proceedings to be over by October 18.
"The hearing is at an advanced stage," said the bench which also comprised Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer.
The bench also reiterated its resolve to conclude the hearing by October 18. "We will sit on this Saturday, if required".
The top court which is hearing the Ayodhya case till 5 pm, instead of 4 pm, on daily basis, asked the counsel for Hindu body 'Nirmohi Akahara' that it will allow only one lawyer from its side to argue the case.
"We will allow one lawyer from your (Akhara's) side to argue...we do not have the time. Don't you want us to give the order," the bench asked the counsel for the Hindu body.
The bench then asked senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim parties, to argue on Friday the appeal filed by the Sunni Wakf Board seeking title over the entire disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri masjid site.
The resolve of the top court to adhere to timeline to conclude hearing by October 18 assumes significance as the CJI is demitting office on November 17.
Prior to this, the top court had taken note of the report of the three-member panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, that mediation proceedings, which went on for about four months, did not result in any final settlement and it had to decide the matter pending before it.
The apex court, which on March 8 referred the matter for mediation, had asked for in-camera proceedings to be completed within eight weeks, but later granted time till August 15 after the panel's earlier report said that the mediators were "optimistic" about an amicable solution.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished by some Hindu groups claiming it was the birthplace of Lord Ram.