- Ram Janmabhoomi dispute will be settled through mediation
- Three-member mediation committee will meet petitioners at Faizabad
- If mediators want, they can induct more members in the committee
The Supreme Court today ordered mediation in the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. A three member mediation committee - including former Supreme Court judge, Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - would meet all the petitioners at Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. The committee has been given a month, after which a report has to be submitted to the court, said the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
"Mediation will take place. We don't see any legal obstruction to it," said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi while delivering the order. "Mediation proceedings will remain confidential. There would be no reporting in any media," he added.
Justice (retired) Khalifulla would be the chairperson of the committee, of which senior advocate Sriram Panchu would be the third member. If the mediators want, they can induct more members in the committee, the court said.
The top court has been in favour of mediation despite the disapproval of most of the parties concerned. The Constitution bench hearing the proceedings said the case is not about property, but "mind, heart and healing - if possible". A judicial order was considered the last resort.
The dispute over the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya where a 16th Century mosque, said to be built by Mughal emperor Babur stood, has been on for nearly six decades. Hindu groups believed the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The Ayodhya case flared up after Hindu activists razed the mosque on December 6, 1992. Around 2000 people died in the riots that followed.
During the last hearing on Wednesday, most of the Hindu petitioners, the Uttar Pradesh government and the advocate representing "Ram Lalla" - the deity infant Lord Ram - had shown reluctance towards mediation.
Earlier this week, Sri Sri Ravishankar -- who had welcomed the idea of mediation and offered to be one of the mediators - tweeted:
This move towards mediation by the Hon Supreme Court is in the best interest of the country and all parties concerned. We should not leave any stone unturned in resolving this burning issue amicably.#AyodhyaVerdict— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 6, 2019
We should keep our egos and differences aside and come together with a spirit of honouring & accommodating the sentiments of the communities concerned.#AyodhyaVerdict— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 6, 2019
Fourteen appeals were filed in the top court against an Allahabad High Court judgment of 2010, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77 acres in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.