- The Supreme Court had set up a panel to discuss a solution to the dispute
- Mediation didn't result in any kind of settlement: Chief Justice Gogoi
- A decision on the decades-old dispute has to come before November 17
The mediation process in the Ayodhya temple-mosque case has failed to evolve any solution, the Supreme Court said today, declaring daily hearings from August 6 in the decades-old dispute. "Mediation didn't result in any kind of settlement," said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in a six-minute hearing.
Sources said the three-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court to consult with various groups and discuss a solution to the dispute "did its best to arrive at a consensus", but "some parties" did not agree to the mediation.
The Supreme Court had given the panel, which was set up earlier this year, time till Thursday to submit its report. A decision on the case has to come before November 17, when the Chief Justice retires.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice had, on July 11, sought an update on the mediation and said they could start day-to-day hearings from July 25 if there was no merit in continuing the process. The panel had been granted time till August 15 but the court, acting on the request of one of the litigants, said it would decide whether mediation should continue.
A legal heir of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, had requested that the mediation process be discontinued on grounds that nothing much was happening on that front.
The panel comprising former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu started consultations in March to explore an amicable settlement.
The dispute involves the site in Ayodhya where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed in 1992 by Hindu activists who believe that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In riots following the mosque demolition, 2,000 people died across the country.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla (infant Ram).
The Constitution bench had chose mediation despite objections from petitioners like the Uttar Pradesh government. Barring the Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara, one of the Hindu petitioners, all were against mediation. But the judges had said mediation may help in "healing relations".
"It is not only about property. It is about mind, heart and healing, if possible," the bench had said.
Besides the Chief Justice, the other judges in the constitution bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.