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Section 144 Imposed as hearings in Ayodhya dispute case reach final leg in SC

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Ayodhya Case

With the Supreme Court having planned to conclude hearings of the long-drawn-out Ayodhya land dispute case in the next four days, Uttar Pradesh government has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Ayodhya till December 10 in anticipation of simmering tensions.

Section 144 of the CrPC authorises the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, started the day-to-day proceedings on August 6 after mediation proceedings failed to find a harmonious solution to the dispute, has revised the deadline for winding up the proceedings and has fixed it for October 17, a day sooner than the earlier schedule.

Fixing the schedule for the final leg of the extensive arguments, it had said that the Muslim side would complete the arguments on October 14 and thereafter, two days would be granted to the Hindu parties to sum up their rejoinders by October 16.

October 17 would be the last day for winding up the hearing when the parties will have to make the final arguments about the relief they are seeking, the apex court had said. The bench had earlier fixed the deadline of October 18 to conclude the hearing.

The judgment in the matter is to be pronounced by November 17, the day the CJI will demit office. The apex court had on August 6 commenced day-to-day proceedings in the case as the mediation proceedings initiated to find the amicable resolution had failed.

It had taken note of the report of the three-member panel, comprising Justice FMI Kallifulla, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, that mediation proceedings, which went on for about four months, did not result in any final settlement and it had to decide the matter pending before it.

14 appeals have been filed in the court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya is to be partitioned equally among the three parties — Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

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