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With the Supreme Court having already decided to complete the day-to-day hearings in the Ram JanmabhoomiBabri Masjid land dispute case by October 18, the five-judge constitution bench will sit for an extra hour from Monday onwards to finish the proceedings within the stipulated time.

The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi heard the case for the 28th day on Friday and informed the counsels for all parties that it will sit till 5 pm from Monday onwards instead of 4 pm, the time the court normally rises for the day. “We can sit for extra one hour from Monday (September 23),” the bench which also comprises Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer said.

On Wednesday, the court had urged all parties to stick to the schedule and conclude their arguments on time. “Let us make a joint effort to complete it by October 18,” the CJI had exhorted. He added that the court was ready to sit an hour extra everyday and even on Saturdays to complete the hearing if needed. The very same day, all parties had submitted a tentative schedule for their arguments, following a request by the court.

CJI Gogoi retires on November 17, which means that if the parties stick to the schedule, it will give the bench a full month to draft the judgment and pronounce the verdict in the case that has remained unresolved for over 25 years.

—India Legal Bureau

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