Ayodhya: SC to pass order on March 5 on whether to refer matter to court-appointed mediator

The five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, suggested mediation of the issue in the course of the hearing of a batch of cross-petitions.

Published: 26th February 2019 12:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2019 02:41 PM   |  A+A-

Ayodhya, Ram mandir, Babri Masjid

Carved stones are seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya Monday November 12 2018. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday proposed mediation to arrive at an amicable resolution between the parties in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

A five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India said, “Even if there's 1 per cent chance of amicable resolution, it should be given a try. This should be concurrent to the suit pending before the court. We are seriously considering this.”

However, none of the litigants were willing to accept this offer asserting that the mediation had been tried earlier and had failed. The court then declared that it will pass an order on March 5, whether a court-appointed mediator will take up the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

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.

As soon as the day’s hearing began, CJI asked lawyers of both sides to go through the report of Secretary General of Supreme Court in status of documents and said if translations of documents are now acceptable to all, parties cannot contest translations once the proceedings begin.

The court said it can proceed with hearing if there is consensus with regard to translation of documents.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan who is representing a Muslim party, said he is yet to examine translation of documents.

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan then shows the court the earlier orders of court relating to the translation of documents.

However, Dhavan, submits that his instruction is that they have not examined the translation of documents given by State of Uttar Pradesh.

Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, told the court that all parties had accepted the translations in 2017. “They were silent and never raised the issue earlier but raising objection after two years is not fair,” he added.

Dhavan, however, denied the claim that the Sunni Waqf Board was not ready for hearings to proceed.

“We are not going to waste our time if disputes are going to be raised over translations of documents,” Gogoi said asking Dhavan how much time he needed to study the translated documents. Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Muslim petitioners, said 8-12 weeks would be sufficient.

The bench gave parties eight weeks to study translations made by the Uttar Pradesh government in the status report on the case.

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