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Ayodhya land dispute case: SC-appointed Arbitration Committee to meet in Delhi today

On September 18, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had asked for all arguments before the apex court to be concluded by October 17. 

Ayodhya land dispute case: SC-appointed Arbitration Committee to meet in Delhi today

NEW DELHI: A crucial meeting of the Supreme court-appointed Arbitration Committee in the Ayodhya title dispute case will be held in Delhi on Thursday. The committee met on Wednesday at the India International Center but failed to achive any breakthrough in the case.

The meeting was attended by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others but the representative of Ramlalla Virajman and Shia Waqf Board boycotted it. Ramlalla Virajman, one of the three main parties to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, had earlier informed the apex court that they would not participate in the mediation process.

After Hindu Mahasabha, the Shia Waqf Board, which is arguing for the mosque, also turned down an invitation by the Supreme Court-appointed mediators.

CS Vaidyanathan, the advocate for Ramlalla Virajman, had told the court on September 30 that they “were not participating” in the mediation.

After that, the mediators urged Ejaz Maqbool, one of the advocates representing the Shia Waqf Board, to come for a meeting on October 8.

However, he too conveyed to the mediators that they were “busy” with the proceedings in court.

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The mediation team, led by Former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court FMI Kalifullah, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, received a lease of life when two of the parties Zufar Farooqi, Chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board and Dharam Das, of the Nirvani Akhara, wrote to the mediators asking for a resumption of the process and the mediators, in turn, wrote to the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the matter.

On September 18, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi allowed the mediation process to resume simultaneously along with the arguments. He also asked for all arguments before the apex court to be concluded by October 18. 

However, he later said that the arguments in the Ayodhya land case will be completed by October 17. 

In a clear indication that judgment in Ayodhya dispute case is likely to be delivered before CJI Ranjan Gogoi`s retirement in November, the Supreme Court on September 26 said that it cannot grant even a single extra day beyond October 18 to all petitioners to complete their submissions.

The top court stated that if the need arises, it will hear the Ayodhya title dispute case on Saturdays as well to ensure that the hearing is concluded by October 18. The top court had on August 5 commenced day-to-day hearing in the case from Monday to Friday.

The court is hearing the fourteen appeals challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.