The Supreme Court will examine a report on the "progress of mediation" in the Ayodhya land dispute case today. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had on July 11 sought a report on the issue and said that a day-to-day hearing may commence from July 25 if the court decides to conclude the mediation proceedings.
The bench had requested former Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) FMI Kalifulla, chairperson of the three-member mediation panel, to apprise it by today about the progress of the mediation till date and its present stage.
"It will be convenient to have the said report latest by July 18, on which date further orders will be passed by this court," the bench, also comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, had said on July 11.
The Supreme Court passed the order while hearing an application filed by a legal heir of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and conclusion of the mediation process, alleging that nothing much was happening on that front.
The bench had said that the Supreme Court would pass appropriate orders today after perusing the report filed by the mediation committee.
The mediation panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation, Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, was earlier granted time till August 15 by the Supreme Court for completion of mediation after its earlier report had said that the mediators were "optimistic" about an amicable solution.
The top court had fixed the seat for the mediation process in UP's Faizabad, around 7 km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements, including those related to the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security and travel, should be arranged forthwith by the Uttar Pradesh government so that the proceedings could commence immediately.
The bench was earlier told by Hindu bodies, except the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they were not in favour of the court's suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies had supported the proposal.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties - Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.