On what could be the last day of Ayodhya hearing, high drama was witnessed in the Supreme Court as a senior lawyer tore up the papers maps handed over to him, upsetting the judges.
As the 40th day of hearing on the politically-sensitive Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute commenced on Wednesday, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing for the Muslim Waqf Board tore up a map handed over to him by counsel of All India Hindu Mahasabha.
Dhavan was objecting to All India Hindu Mahasabha’s counsel Vikas Singh seeking to place an alleged historic map of the Ram Janmabhoomi site before the 5-judge Constitution Bench.
Singh had cited an Oxford University publication, ‘Ayodhya Revisited’, by former IPS officer Kishore Kunal, to prove the pre-existence of the Ram Temple.
Infuriated with the actions, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “Decorum has been spoiled, we will walk out”.
Earlier in the day, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had said that the daily hearings will end today and asked the parties to conclude their arguments in the Ayodhya land dispute case by 5 pm.
While dismissing an intervention application of the Hindu Maha Sabha in the case, the CJI Ranjan said, “This matter is going to be over by 5 pm today. Enough is enough”.
On the final day of the hearing, the Chief Justice, who heads the five-judge bench hearing the case, 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.
The court is expected to announce a verdict in the 134-year-old title suit before the Chief Justice leaves office on November 17.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi had on September 18 set a deadline saying that the submissions on the decades-old politically sensitive matter will be completed by October 18.
The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by CJI Gogoi further had allowed mediation process along with the hearing and said that if an amicable settlement is reached through it, the same can be filed before the apex court.
The daily hearing on the matter commenced on August 6. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the Allahabad High Court order, which partitioned the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The apex court began daily hearings after a court-appointed panel failed to find a solution through mediation.