New Delhi, Sep 18 : A Supreme Court bench hearing the Ayodhya title dispute case on Wednesday said it hopes to complete the hearing in the matter by October 18 and said that petitioners in the case are free to resort to mediation through the apex court appointed panel, but the day-to-day hearing in the case would continue.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “The mediation proceedings will remain confidential.”
“If parties are desirous of settling the matter through mediation, they can do so,” the Supreme Court said on Day 26 of the daily hearings in India’s most politically charged dispute.
The judgement has to be delivered before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17, or the entire process will go into re-start mode.
“Let us make a joint effort to conclude the same by October 18,” said the Chief Justice, adding that if necessary, the court could even hear the case for one extra hour each day, or on Saturdays.
On Monday, the apex court-appointed mediators submitted a memorandum to the CJI-led bench, seeking directions on the letters they received from the chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirvani Akhara calling for resumption of the mediation process.
On this, a rival litigant, Iqbal Ansari, agrees. “We want the court to settle this matter. We do not want to complicate it. We don’t want to dwell on the past. The present situation is that the court is hearing it and the court will decide,” he said.
The dispute involves the site in Ayodhya where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed in 1992 by Hindu fundamentals who claim that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.