Movie will not affect outcome of Ayodhya mediation, says SC

The release of a movie on the Ram Mandir will not affect the Ayodhya mediation process in Faizabad. A nonplussed Supreme Court said a film cannot cause havoc on the mediation ordered by the apex court by playing on the minds of the parties involved.

“Do you think a movie can affect the outcome of the mediation? If the parties want to settle the dispute, they will. If they don’t want to settle it, they will not. A movie has nothing to do with it... We are not so pessimistic,” said Justice S.A. Bobde, addressing the fears expressed in an urgent mentioning to stop the release of Ram Ki Janmabhoomi scheduled for Friday. The court refused to list the case urgently for hearing.

The mentioning made by advocate Lily Thomas, representing Prince Yakub Tucy, who claims to be a descendant of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, said the movie would give rise to communal tensions and derail the delicate mediation effort.

Ms. Thomas said the film also defamed Babur, the Mughal emperor on whose order the demolished Babri Masjid was built in the 16th century. The mosque was demolished by kar sevaks in 1992.

The mediation process was ordered by the Supreme Court on March 8 to heal the wounds of a prolonged fight between Hindus and Muslims over the disputed land in Ayodhya. Hindus believe that the land on which the mosque once stood is the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The petition has reached the apex court after the Delhi High Court refused to entertain it, saying people have to be tolerant to ensure the survival of freedom of speech and expression.

On March 8, the Supreme Court had appointed a panel of mediators, including 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 Ayodhya dispute mediation is held in-camera. The time given for mediation is eight weeks.

This eight weeks is the time given to 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 pending since 2010 in the apex court.

In fact, the court had invoked Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) to propose mediation as an “effective utilisation of time” during the interregnum.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 4:04:31 PM |

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