- "The mediation panel is optimistic": Chief Justice of India said
- Mediation panel was today given time till August 15
- 14 appeals filed in top court against Allahabad High Court judgment
The mediation panel for the Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute was today given time till August 15 by the Supreme Court to come up with a solution. "The panel wants more time, which we are inclined to give," said a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. In the hearing that lasted six minutes, the Chief Justice also said: "The mediation panel is optimistic."
In the previous hearing, the top court had referred the decades-old dispute for mediation and set up the panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifulla. The panel has been tasked by the court to hold consultations to explore a potential avenue for an amicable settlement.
The other two members of the panel are spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a well-known mediator in the legal circles. The panel was constituted after the court noted "the lack of consensus between the parties in the matter". The court had asked the panel to conduct in-camera proceedings and were given eight weeks to speak to all stake-holders.
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, delivered in four civil suits, 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 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 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 in a past hearing.
Besides the Chief Justice, the other judges in the constitution bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.