The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid dispute case for an extra hour from next Monday to conclude the hearing before the October 18 deadline fixed by it. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which was hearing the decades-old politically sensitive land dispute on 28th day, told the counsel for both the Hindu and Muslim parties that it has decided to rise at 5 pm instead of 4 pm, which is the scheduled time to wrap up the day's proceedings in the apex court.
"We can sit for extra one hour from Monday (September 23)," the bench which also comprise Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer said.
The apex court has set October 18 as deadline for completion of all arguments in the protracted land title dispute, a move that has raised the possibility of a verdict in the politically sensitive case in the middle of November.
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.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court continued hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. There were some heated moments during the hearing between Justice Ashok Bhushan, part of the constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices DY Chandrachud, SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer, and Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan who is representing the Muslim parties in this case. The exchange took place during a discussion over whether the close proximity of Ram Chabutra to the iron railings was a proof of the belief that the mosque’s central dome was Ram Janmasthan.
Referring to a suggestion by Justice DY Chandrachud regarding the possibility that Hindus had been praying to the railing in lieu of the central dome, advocate Dhavan submitted that there was no evidence of worship at the grilled wall.