It will be miraculous if a judgement can be delivered in the Ayodhya case in four weeks, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said today as he reminded both the parties in the Ram Janambhoomi dispute to wrap up the arguments in the case by October 18 deadline.
"We have 10-and-a-half days to conclude the arguments within the deadline," said the Chief Justice, referring to the Dussehra holidays between October 4 and October 14.
When senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board, suggested continuing with the extended one-hour framework and allocating Saturdays to meet the deadline, the Chief Justice said he can't give any extra day after October 18.
A Constitution bench of five judges, headed by Chief Justice, has been holding daily hearings in the case since last month after it decided that mediation had failed to produce a solution in the decades-old temple-mosque dispute.
Last week, the court had set October 18 as the deadline for completing arguments, reopening the possibility of mediation. "If parties are desirous of settling the matter through mediation, they can do so," the top court said on Day 26 of the daily hearings.
The judgement in the case 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," the Chief Justice had said last week, adding that if necessary, the court could even hear the case for one extra hour each day, or on Saturdays.
Today, the Chief Justice, responding to one of the lawyers, said: "Today is the 32nd day of hearing. We will go on hearing till my last working day. You keep on coming with one plea or other?"
He was responding to Dharam Das, a lawyer representing one of the Hindu parties fighting against Nirmohi Akhara over management rights, after he sought a time slot of 20 minutes to argue his case.
"We have already given the schedule. We are hard-pressed for time," the Chief Justice said as he asked the advocate to hold a discussion with other lawyers for the time slot.
The dispute involves the site in Ayodhya where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed in 1992 by Hindu activists who believe that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In riots following the mosque demolition, 2,000 people died across the country.