Ayodhya Case: Supreme Court To Decide On Court-Appointed Mediation On March 5
File photo of the Supreme Court. (PTI)

Ayodhya Case: Supreme Court To Decide On Court-Appointed Mediation On March 5


The Supreme Court suggested mediation in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, saying it was considering the possibility of “healing relations”.

The court said it will pass an order on March 5 on whether to refer it to a court-appointed mediator.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that even if one percent chance of mediation exists in the politically-sensitive land dispute matter, it should be done.

The bench also comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer asked the registry to provide translated copies of all documents within six weeks and said the main matter would be taken up for hearing after eight weeks.

It also directed the parties to examine translated copies and raise objections, if any, within eight weeks.

While some Muslim parties said they were agreeable to the apex court suggestion for a court-appointed mediator to solve the dispute, some Hindu parties including Ram Lalla Virajmaan raised objections saying earlier also the process of mediation has failed several times.

The bench asked the parties if they can explore the possibility of mediation to resolve the land dispute and said, "Even if there is 1 percent chance, mediation should be done."

Do you seriously think that the entire dispute for so many years is for property? We can only decide property rights but we are considering the possibility of healing relations.
Five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

To this, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party referred to Allahabad High Court verdict and said that mediation was tried earlier and was unsuccessful.

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, said it was averse to mediation. "We do not want another round of mediation".

At the outset, the apex court said it can proceed with hearing if there is consensus with regard to translation of documents.

It referred to copies of report filed by the Secretary General of the apex court on the status of documents and sealed records of the case. The CJI asked lawyers of both sides to peruse the report.

Dhavan said he is yet to examine translation of documents and will have to check the veracity of translated documents. To this, the apex court asked the parties to show the order by which they had agreed to translated documents filed by Uttar Pradesh government.

Vaidyanathan said the translations were verified and accepted by all parties in December 2017. He said that an order was passed to examine Uttar Pradesh government's translations and now two years later they raise objections to it.

When the CJI asked the Muslim parties as to how much time they need to examine the translations, Dhavan replied "eight to 12 weeks".

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

The three-judge bench had on Sept. 27, 2018 refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue related to reconsideration of the observation in the apex court's 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam.

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