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Mediation Fruitless, SC to Begin Ayodhya Hearing From August 6

New Delhi: A day after receiving a sealed progress report from the three-member panel constituted to amicably mediate on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babdri Masjid land dispute case, the Supreme Court held on Friday that the process has failed to yield any results.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, heading the five-judge constitutional bench, said that hearing of the Ayodhya case will begin on August 6 again and will be held on a day-to-day basis. The court also said that the office of the registry should keep all the material ready for the perusal of the court for the hearing.

Bar and Bench reported that the order was passed by the full bench comprising Gogoi and Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.

“We have received the report submitted by chairman of the committee, Justice Kalifulla. We have perused the same. Mediation proceedings have not resulted in any kind of final settlement, therefore, we have to proceed with the hearing of the appeal which will commence from August 6,” said the bench.

The mediation panel was headed by retired Supreme Court judge Fakir Mohammad Ibrahim Kalifulla and comprised spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.

The panel in its Thursday report said that Hindu and the Muslim parties have not been able to find a solution to the longstanding land dispute.

After the bench passed the order, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, raised several technical issues and said he will need 20 days to argue the various issues arising in the matter in detail and there should not be any curtailment on the hearing.

As Dhavan essayed how the appeals in the case must be heard, the bench told him, “Don’t remind us what we have to do”.

“We know there are many aspects and we will deal with al these aspects. Let the hearing start,” it said.

On August 6, the court will start hearings on the 14 appeals that have been filed in the apex 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.

Mediation path

A bench had, on July 18, asked the panel to inform the court about the outcome of the mediation proceedings as on July 31 by August 1 to enable it to proceed further in the matter.

The bench had earlier sought and perused a report about the progress of mediation till July 18. Earlier on July 11, it had asked for the first progress report on the mediation and said that a day-to-day hearing might commence from July 25 if the court decided to conclude mediation proceedings.

It had passed the July 11 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 not much was happening there.

The mediation panel had earlier been granted time till August 15 by the apex 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 Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, 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 state government.

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.

Source: The Wire


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