Ayodhya dispute: SC asks mediation panel to continue talks with stakeholders till July 31

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi went through a report submitted by the mediation panel and took note of its contents.

Published: 18th July 2019 11:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2019 12:22 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Ayodhya mediation panel headed by former Justice F M I Kalifullah to continue negotiations to find a negotiated solution till July 31 and tentatively fixed hearing of appeals in the Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid case from August 2.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi went through a report submitted by the mediation panel and took note of its contents and asked the panel to continue the negotiations till July 31 and submit a status report and slated the further hearing on Aug 2 when it will be decided as to how the day-to-day hearing will be progressing.

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The bench, which perused the report filed by the panel headed by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, said its contents will remain confidential as per its earlier order.

"However, taking into account what has been brought to our notice by the said report, we now fix hearing of the case, if required on and from August 2," the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said.

The apex court requested the committee to inform it by August 1 about the outcome of the proceedings held till July 31.

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The bench also took into the record an application filed by one of the parties pointing to discrepancies in the translated copies of the records related to the case.

Last week, the bench had fixed July 25 for the beginning of day to day hearing in the case in case the mediation panel report indicates that the efforts by them yielded no result.

The order came on the plea of Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the original litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute who had moved the top court seeking early hearing of the matter.

The litigant said that nothing much has been happening in the case which was referred to a three-member panel of mediators, headed by former apex court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla, to explore an amicable solution.

The panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, was earlier granted time till August 15 by the apex court for completion of mediation after its earlier report had said that the mediators were "optimistic" about an amicable solution.

The top court had fixed the seat for the mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around 7 km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements, including those related to the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security and travel, should be arranged forthwith by the state government so that the proceedings could commence immediately.

The bench was earlier told by Hindu bodies, except the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they were not in favour of the court's suggestion for mediation.

The Muslim bodies had supported the proposal.

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.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.

(With PTI Inputs)

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