Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed a deadline to conclude the arguments of all the stakeholders in the Ayodhya land dispute case on October 18.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi is believed to have taken the decision considering the retirement of the Chief Justice Gogoi which is due on November 17.  If the judgment was not pronounced before his retirement the entire exercise of day to day hearing would be futile.

The CJI, after holding consultations with the counsel of both sides expressed that he was hopeful that the arguments on Ayodhya case can conclude by October 18.

Indicating that he was ready to work overtime, Justice Ranjan Gogoi said “let us all make joint efforts to complete it by October 18. If need be we are ready to work some extra hours on the week days including Saturdays to complete the task at hand.”

The bench had earlier sought all the parties involved in the Ayodhya land dispute to give a tentative timeframe required by them to complete the arguments.

Apart from this, the apex Court observed that the parties involved are free to resort to mediation to reach a settlement and then the Court shall review the settlement arrived at by the stakeholders.

This means that mediation can take place simultaneously notwithstanding the fact that the proceedings are underway at the top Court.

This came after the UP Sunni Waqf Board Chairman wrote to the panel seeking redemption of mediation to give it another shot. The bench also clarified that the mediation proceedings in the sensitive Ayodhya case will be kept confidential.

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