After 40 days of hearings, the Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved the judgement in the 70-year-old politically vexing Ayodhya title dispute.
The 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, has now granted three days to contesting parties to file written notes on 'moulding of relief' or narrowing down the issues on which the court is required to adjudicate.
The same bench had begun the daily hearing into the matter on August 6 after the court-appointed 3-member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge Justice (Retired) FMI Kalifullah, failed to amicably resolve the matter.
According to the news agency ANI, the bench will sit in chambers on Thursday (October 17).
"Take notice that on Thursday October 17, 2019, the Chief Justice, SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will sit in chambers," read a notice, reported ANI.
At 4 p.m. on Wednesday as senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim side was arguing, the Chief Justice called off the hearing and declared the court has reserved the judgement on the matter.
"Hearing is over, and the judgement is reserved," said Chief Justice Gogoi, who is expected to deliver the judgement before his retirement on November 17.
The last day of the hearing, where every inch of the courtroom was packed, saw extremely heated exchanges between the Hindu and Muslim side.
Dhavan, in fact, shocked the court by tearing a pictorial map identifying the birthplace of Lord Ram submitted by a senior counsel representing the All India Hindu Mahasabha. This act did not go down well with the bench, and the Chief Justice expressed his anguish.
In the first half of the day, Hindu parties argued and urged the court to correct the historical wrong where a mosque has been built on a site considered holy by Hindus.
In turn, Dhavan said that the Muslim parties seek restoration of Babri Masjid as it stood on December 5, 1992. "The demolished building belonged to us. The right to reconstruct it also belongs to us. Nobody else has the right," he submitted.
The SC was hearing appeals challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict, which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre of disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla-the three petitioners in the case.
The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.
(With Agency Inputs)