The Supreme Court has informed that they would not grant even a single extra day beyond October 18 for the petitioners to complete their submissions in the Ayodhya dispute case. This move by the apex court clearly indicates that the verdict is likely to be delivered before CJI Ranjan Gogoi's retirement in November. After the lawyers informed the five-judge bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi that they will complete submissions in 'all the possibilities and manner', the subsequent date was set.
Ranjan Gogoi on being asked about the date of the verdict said, “As per the estimate of tentative dates to finish the hearing in the case, we can say that the submissions have to be completed by October 18." The bench will write the landmark judgment for ownership of 2.77-acre land once the arguments are concluded by lawyers of UP Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmoni Akhada and Ram Deity -- three parties in the case. The parties are submitting their arguments in the court during the day-to-day hearings, challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, which has ruled to divide the disputed site into three equal parts. Earlier, the court had observed that the hearing of the appeals, which is at a very advanced stage, will continue without any interruption. It is to be noted that CJI Gogoi is set to retire from office on November 17 and he has to deliver the judgment before that as he had entirely heard the case from the beginning of the arguments.
The Supreme Court also informed the mediation panel that they will have to submit their report to the court by October 18 as well. However, the mediation panel may continue its work under confidentiality. The court also informed that the mediation process can go along simultaneously with the hearings. If there is some settlement that could be reached in between the hearing process at the Supreme Court, it could be filed before the court. The day-to-day hearing started on August 6 after a court-appointed mediation panel failed to resolve the dispute through an amicable settlement.
The Ayodhya mediation committee is headed by Justice FM Kalifulla, senior advocate Sriram Panchu and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In March, the apex court had referred the matter to the panel of mediators and had asked them to hold in-camera proceedings. They were given the time of eight weeks to address the case. However, later, the deadline was extended till August 15 by the Supreme Court because they did not want to short-circuit the mediation efforts. Later, an application was filed claiming that the committee was not making a progress and the Judge bench led by the CJI should resume the hearings. Thereafter, the apex court received a short memorandum filed by the Ayodhya mediation committee seeking its permission to resume talks in the Ayodhya land dispute case and they have thus resumed the mediation process again.