Supreme Court Suggests Mediation To Resolve Ram Temple Issue

The Supreme Court said it will pass an order on March 5 on whether to refer the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case to a court-appointed mediator.

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Supreme Court Suggests Mediation To Resolve Ram Temple Issue

The Supreme Court directed the parties to examine translated copies in the case. (File)


New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court today suggested mediation in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, saying it was considering the possibility of "healing relations".

The court said it will pass an order on March 5 on whether to refer it to a court-appointed mediator.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said even if one per cent chance of mediation exists in the politically sensitive land dispute matter, it should be done.

The bench also comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer asked the registry to provide translated copies of all documents within six weeks and said the main matter would be taken up for hearing after eight weeks.

It also directed the parties to examine translated copies and raise objections, if any, within eight weeks.

The court said it wanted to explore the possibility of mediation to utilise the period of eight weeks after which the matter would be heard.

While some Muslim parties said they were agreeable to the court's suggestion for a court-appointed mediator to solve the dispute, some parties including Ram Lalla Virajmaan raised objections saying earlier also the process of mediation has failed several times.

"Do you seriously think that the entire dispute for so many years is for property? We can only decide property rights but we are considering the possibility of "healing relations"," the bench said.

To this, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a party opposing construction of temple referred to Allahabad High Court verdict and said that mediation was tried earlier and was unsuccessful.

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, said it was averse to mediation and that: "We do not want another round of mediation".

The top court said it can proceed with the hearing if there is consensus with regard to translation of documents.

"If translations of documents are now acceptable to all, parties cannot contest translations once proceedings begin," the bench said.

It referred to copies of report filed by the Secretary General of the court on the status of documents and sealed records of the case. The CJI asked lawyers of both sides to peruse the report.

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.

The five-judge bench was re-constituted on January 25 as Justice UU Lalit, who was a member of the earlier bench, had recused himself from hearing the matter.
 

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