Ayodhya dispute: Mediation fails, daily hearing from August 6
From August 6, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court will hear the Ayodhya dispute case on a daily basis. The top court arrived at this decision after a three-member mediation panel, formed with the hope of an amicable solution, failed. On Thursday, the SC-appointed panel submitted its findings in a sealed cover. Here are the details.
The communally-volatile case pertains to 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. In 1992, the 16th-century Babri Masjid was razed by Hindu activists who believed Lord Rama took human form there. The matter went to courts and in 2010, Allahabad High Court divided the land equally among three parties- Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhada. Subsequently, all of them approached SC.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, all three parties approached SC. Notably, 14 petitions related to the case have been filed in the court till now. After innumerable hearings and adjournments, SC in March formed a panel headed by retired SC judge FMI Kalifulla for an amicable solution. Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior lawyer Sriram Panchu are also part of the panel.
Recommending mediation, the constitutional bench, also including Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said it was looking at "the possibility of healing". The bench had noted it can't change the past, but even if there's a slight chance of arriving at a solution through conversations, it should be taken up. Interestingly, the Hindu side was reluctant for mediation.
In its interim report submitted on July 18, the mediation panel reportedly sought more time from SC. Thereafter, the apex court asked the panel to submit its final report by August 1. An Indian Express report claimed only one side mooted a proposal when mediation had just started. The participant suggested constructing both a temple and a mosque at the disputed site.
Barring this, none of the participants gave any other idea, which severely disappointed the mediators. Further, the report added the committee organized only one meeting in which all sides were present. This meeting was one of the first to take place and saw 41 people in attendance. The committee is learned to have held several meetings in various cities including Delhi, Lucknow, and Ayodhya.
Justice Kalifulla, it is reported, made a last-ditch effort for mediation to work in the last week. With SC's deadline nearing, he hoped to arrive at a solution which would be acceptable to all sides. When it didn't work, the panel informed all participants that mediation has formally been closed. Apparently, the report which panel submitted doesn't give details about proceedings, including verbal proposals.