Ayodhya mediation panel submits report; SC says hearings to end today

The Ayodhya dispute hearings will end by 5pm on Wednesday, CJI Gogoi said

Ram Mandir model Reuters A model of the proposed Ram mandir in Ayodhya | Reuters

The three-member mediation panel appointed by the Supreme Court for the Ayodhya dispute on Wednesday submitted its settlement report to the apex court. The three-member panel—headed by former Supreme Court justice F.M.I. Kalifullah and consisting of mediator Sriram Panchu and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar—had resumed its work in September, following requests by some parties to the dispute.

The contents of the settlement report are confidential. The development comes as Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi announced in the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning that the ongoing hearings in the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute would end by 5pm on Wednesday.

Gogoi said, "By 5pm, this matter is going to be over. Enough is enough.” He made the statement while dismissing a plea by the Hindu Mahasabha, one of the parties to the dispute, seeking more time for arguments. Gogoi had declared on Tuesday that Wednesday would be the last day of hearings. Wednesday would be the 40th day of daily hearings in the Ayodhya case.

The Supreme Court had previously said it would wrap up hearings by October 17. The Supreme Court had been hearing appeals by a number of parties against the 2010 verdict of the Ayodhya High Court that ordered trifurcation of the 2.77 acre disputed property in Ayodhya between the Hindu and Muslim parties.

The case was being heard by a five-member bench headed by Gogoi and consisting of Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer. As Chief Justice Gogoi is to retire on November 17, media reports have suggested a verdict on the Ayodhya case may be delivered before that date.