The Ayodhya mediation efforts were on the brink of a settlement, before it met with a wall of resistance from certain groups from both sides of the religious divide.
A source said the mediation committee appointed by the Supreme Court was very close to arriving at a resolution of the over 70-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute between Hindu and Muslim factions on Wednesday. However, their efforts for a settlement failed at the last moment, a source said.
The mediation effort was initiated by a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on March 8.
But on Friday, Mr. Gogoi declared that the effort had failed to reach a final settlement. The CJI’s words came after he perused a report from the three-member mediation committee of former apex court judge, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, as chairman, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the country. The committee had filed its report on Thursday.
Initially, on March 8, the court had given the mediation effort a deadline of eight weeks. However, the committee had filed an interim report in court dated May 7 saying they were making “progress.”
The court had then extended the time till August 15, saying it did not want to “short-circuit” the mediation efforts.
However, things took a sudden turn when an application was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad, an original claimant who had filed a title suit in 1950, through Rajendra Singh.
The application claimed the committee was making no progress and asked the Bench to commence hearing the long-pending Ayodhya appeals.