The Supreme Court, today, extended time till August 15 for the completion of the mediation process in the decades-old, politically sensitive Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case. A three-member panel headed by ex-apex court judge F M Khalifullah, formed to find a possibility of an amicable solution to the case, had submitted its interim report on in a sealed cover yesterday.
The extension was given on the basis of a request made by Justice F M Khalifullah. The matter came up for the first time today since March 8 order of the top court which had referred the case for mediation to the panel. The matter was being heard by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
Spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, are the other two members of the panel of mediators. The panel was asked by the apex court to hold in-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks.
The Constitution bench had said that it does not find any “legal impediment” to make a reference to mediation for a possible settlement of the dispute. The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and Uttar Pradesh government that they oppose the court’s suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies supported the proposal.
While opposing the suggestion of mediation, Hindu bodies had argued that earlier attempts of reaching a compromise have failed and provisions of Civil Procedure Code (CPC) require public notice to be issued before the start of process. The top court had directed that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with “utmost confidentiality” for ensuring its success and the views expressed by any of the parties including the mediators should be kept confidential and not be revealed to any other person.