Supreme Court gets Ayodhya mediation panel report

The mediation panel set up by the Supreme Court to attempt a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya land title dispute today submitted its report in a sealed cover to the top court. The three-member panel led by retired Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifulla was initially told to work within an August 15 deadline.

The top court, however, asked the mediation panel to submit an earlier status report after the successor of one of the original litigants, told the top court that the panel was not getting anywhere with mediation.

In March this year, five judges of the top court decided to explore mediation in an attempt to “heal relationships” between communities. The Uttar Pradesh government and most Hindu parties had opposed the initiative. But it was welcomed by the Muslim side.

The court is hearing petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order that trifurcated the 2.77-acre-site between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Central Waqf Board, and Ram Lalla [the child deity].

At Friday’s hearing, the five judges led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi would decide on its next step. Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer are the other members of the Constitution Bench.

The judges had earlier indicated that if the mediation effort had run into a wall, it would resume hearings on the appeals filed before the constitution bench that could also be conducted on a day-to-day basis.

The panel, which began the negotiations with both the Hindu and Muslims litigants in Ayodhya on March 13, held the final round of back-to-back discussions spread over three days in New Delhi from July 29.

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