New Delhi, Oct 16: Five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has refused to take any intervention application in the politically sensitive Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Supreme Court. The court is expected to announce a verdict in the 134-year-old Ayodhya title suit before the Chief Justice leaves office on November 17.
On the final day of the hearing, the Hindu parties sought intervention but Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi dismissed intervention application of one of the parties Hindu Maya Sabha in Ayodhya land case and said, “This matter is going to be over by 5 pm today. Enough is enough.”
The Chief Justice has allocated initial 45 minutes to Hindu parties followed by one hour to Muslim side, and then four slots of 45 minute each to assorted parties involved in the matter.
According to lawyers, the apex court has also hinted at taking up the moulding of relief, in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, after the hearing on Wednesday.
“It is unlikely that court would be able to complete moulding of relief tomorrow (Wednesday). The court would probably allocate sufficient time for it on Thursday and then finally reserve the judgement,” said a lawyer involved in the case.
The Chief Justice has asked the lawyers from both sides to judiciously distribute the four 45 minute slots amongst themselves.
In September, the apex court had set October 18 deadline to wrap up hearing followed by moulding of relief in the Ayodhya dispute and accordingly developed a schedule after having consultation with lawyers from both sides. In October, the apex court revised the deadline to October 17.
After the Muslim side’s arguments, three counsels from the Hindu side, which include counsels of Gopal Singh Visharad and Akhil Bhartiya Sri Ram Janam Bhoomi Punarudhar Samit, are likely slotted to present their arguments before the court followed by assorted parties who claimed to be representing clients attached to the matter. Senior advocate Sushil Jain, representing Nirmohi Akhara, is yet supposed yet to make his final argument on the matter.
At the beginning of the day, the Chief Justice rapped some lawyers who wanted to submit documents pertaining to the case. “Go to the Registry and submit these documents, do not do it here,” he said.
On Tuesday, senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Ram Lalla Virajman or the “infant Lord Ram”, one of the parties to the dispute, said Hindus had been fighting for centuries for the place believed to be the birthplace of Ram and argued that Muslims could pray at any mosque they wanted.
“Muslims can pray in any other mosque as well. There are 55-60 mosques in Ayodhya alone. But for Hindus, it is the birthplace of Lord Ram. We can’t change the birthplace,” said Mr Parasaran, a former advocate general.
In a lighter moment in the court, the Chief Justice asked Rajeev Dhavan, who represents the Muslim petitioners, if he felt the court was asking enough questions of the Hindu parties. “We are saying this on a lighter note. Not everything has to be taken seriously. Today is the 39th day,” the Chief Justice said.
It heard from Muslim respondents who said there was no claim for the title of the land in Ayodhya by Hindus until 1989. They asked for the restoration of the Babri Masjid as it stood before it was demolished in December 1992.
The Uttar Pradesh government has imposed Section 144 in the state therefore banning gathering of four or more people in Ayodhya to prevent any communal riots like situation trouble in anticipation of the court verdict.
The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India began day-to-day proceedings on August 6 after mediation proceedings failed to find an amicable solution to the dispute.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top 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.
Many Hindus believe the land was the birthplace of Lord Ram and a mosque was built there on the ruins of an ancient temple. The 16th century Babri mosque at the spot was demolished in December 1992 by right-wing activists and thereafter sparked riots in the country.