Ayodhya dispute: Section 144 imposed in district

As the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute enters its final leg on Monday, the Uttar Pradesh administration has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Ayodhya till December 10 to pre-empt outbreak of violence.

“Decision to impose Section-144 was also taken in consideration of upcoming festivals,” District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said.

While the Supreme Court resumes its proceedings on the 38th day, on Monday, with just four days to go before the court concludes its arguments, a tight security blanket has been put in place in the region, prohibiting the assembly of four or more persons across Ayodhya district till December 10.

The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will complete its arguments by this week. The announcement of deadline of completion of hearing is significant as the chief justice retires on 17 November. Hence the panel will get one month’s time to draft the judgment and pronounce the verdict, once arguments are concluded on 17 October.

Day-to-day hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case began in the Supreme Court on 6 August after the attempt for a mutual solution failed in the mediation.

The mediation panel was set up by the Supreme Court on 8 March. F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, was the chairperson of the three-member mediation panel. The two other members on the panel were spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. The court had directed that the proceedings should be held in camera and in Faizabad, a town adjoining Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.