Ayodhya title suit appeals: Supreme Court to rule on mediation on March 8

A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, on Friday (March 8) will pronounce orders on the limited issue of whether or not to send the Ayodhya dispute for mediation.

The Bench has pushed "negotiated compromise" as a means to heal hearts and minds. It has said the dispute was a festering wound, which has touched the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Muslim communities for decades.

Justice S.A. Bobde, on the Bench, had put matters in perspective by observing that the court was only concerned about the present state of the Ramjanmabhoomi-BabriMasjid case and not the past history of "Mughal invasion and conquests of Babur".

"Primarily this is not about the 1500 sq ft of disputed land, but about religious sentiments. We know its impact on public sentiment, on body politic. We are looking at minds, hearts and healing if possible," he had observed.

The Muslim parties have agreed to give mediation a try, while there is a dissonance of opinions among the Hindu appellants, who have said their faith that Lord Ram was born in the disputed land was non-negotiable. They had even suggested that the court should issue a public notice on whether or not to send the dispute for mediation.

"The faith that Lord Ram was born there is not negotiable. But we are willing to crowd-fund a mosque somewhere else," senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, for Ram Lalla, the deity, had submitted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the Uttar Pradesh government had also submitted that the path of mediation was both "imprudent and inadvisable."

The court has asked the parties to suggest names for mediators "in the event" the dispute is sent for mediation. The court has also indicated that the mediation, if ordered, would be conducted confidentially with no reporting on the process of the mediation, considering the sensitivity of the issue.

The Bench had indicated that the mediation, if conducted, would have not just one but multiple mediators. The court had suggested mediation for a period of eight weeks. This is the time given to the Muslim parties to examine the accuracy and relevance of the Uttar Pradesh government's official translation of thousands of pages of oral depositions and exhibits in the Ayodhya title suit appeals, which have been pending since 2010. 

In a February 26 hearing, Chief Justice Gogoi said a shot at mediation under Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code would be an "effective utilisation of time" during the interregnum.

The CJI also expressed hope that mediation may spell a peaceful end to the volatile dispute between two faiths over the land where the Babri Masjid once stood before it was demolished by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 10:14:52 AM |

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