The Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 16, reserved the verdict in the contentious and politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid land dispute case. The bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising of SC judges Justices S.A. Bopde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer reserved the verdict in the case after hearing the concluding arguments from the parties.
The oral arguments in the long-pending Ayodhya case has been concluded. The apex court has given three days' time to the parties to file any written submissions. Additionally, sources from inside the courtroom said that the verdict in the case can be pronounced before November 17. Notably, as Rajeev Dhawan, the counsel of the Muslim body concluded his arguments, he has reiterated his demand to have the mosque restored in its original condition as it existed before the demolition on December 6, 1992.
In a major twist on the 40th day of the day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya case, mediation panel of Justice FMI Kalifulla, Senior advocate Sriram Panchu, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar filed a settlement report before the Supreme Court. This came after the Sunni Waqf board surrendered its claim over the disputed land in Ayodhya. The decision came in light of an agreement reached between a few parties during the mediation proceedings, at the final leg of the hearing on the 2.77 acres disputed land. The mediation panel submitted the sealed report in the apex court.
As the Ayodhya case entered the last day of hearing, in a distasteful move, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, who is representing the Muslim group in the case tore a book inside the courtroom. The book in question ‘Ayodhya Revisited’ was submitted to the bench by senior advocate Vikas Singh to supplement his arguments. Dhavan objected to the submission and tore the pages of the book. The bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi condemning the incident stated that if the behaviour continues, they would halt the proceedings and walk out.
On Tuesday too, the Supreme Court (SC) saw heated exchanges between the lawyers representing Hindu and Muslim parties during the proceedings. Dhavan representing Muslim parties got up and intervened when Parasaran was submitting that, a "historical wrong" was committed by Mughal emperor Babur after his conquest of India more than 433 years ago by constructing a mosque at the birthplace of Lord Ram and it needed to be corrected. "This is entirely a new argument. All this could have been argued by them in other lawsuits as well. I am entitled to give reply in rejoinder arguments," Dhavan told the bench, Parasaran, along with another senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, objected that there were a lot of interruptions from the other side and the court should set the things right as this is the case of public right.
On August 2, CJI Ranjan Gogoi declared that the Ayodhya mediation panel failed to come to a settlement and declared that day-to-day hearings will start from August 6. Earlier on July 31, the Ayodhya mediation panel was allowed to continue talks to reach consensus between Hindu and Muslim sides over the dispute of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. After discussions, the panel submitted the report.
The apex court had made the mediation panel, earlier this year. The panel consisted of Justice FMI Kalifulla, Senior advocate Sriram Panchu, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The panel was made for 8-week and Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad was set as the location where the mediation would be held. The eight-week deadline for the mediation talks were completed on May 3. However, the deadline was extended and the apex court on July 18 asked the mediation committee to continue the process and submit a report on the progress made till July 31.