The Supreme Court Thursday asked the three-member mediation panel in the Ayodhya land dispute case to submit the status of the proceedings in the matter by July 18. The panel is headed by Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, with spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu as the other two members.
The apex court further added that if after going through the report, they find that it does not suggest any amicable solution and the mediation needs to be concluded, then a day-to-day hearing will begin from July 25, on appeals against Allahabad High Court’s September 30, 2010 verdict in the matter.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Rajendra Singh, son of Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the plaintiffs in the original civil suit regarding the Ayodhya land. It was listed before a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.
Visharad claimed that there was “not much progress” in the mediation ordered by the court and urged it to declare “that the mediation proceedings…have been concluded” so that the hearing on the appeals can start.
Visharad has sought hearing of the case by the top court instead of mediation. Senior advocate K S Parasaran, appearing for Visharad, sought a judicial decision in the matter.
“Dispute of this nature is difficult to settle”, Parasaran told the bench which then said it would call for a report from the Mediation Committee. Counsel for Ram Lalla Viarjman also supported Sigh’s plea to conclude the mediation and start the hearing at the earliest.
“We have set up a mediation panel. We will go by the report of the panel. Let the mediators submit a report on this,” the top court said.
Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan opposed the plea to declare the mediation proceedings as concluded and asked if the application was an attempt to intimidate.
The High Court had divided the 2.7-acre disputed land at the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site equally among the three parties – Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board.
Visharad, a resident of Ayodhya, had moved the Court of Civil Judge in Faizabad in 1950, claiming that his right to worship was obstructed by the state government that disallowed him from going near the idol. He had sought an injunction against the removal of idols.
The Supreme Court, on March 8, had ordered mediation to seek a solution into the dispute and appointed retired Judge Kalifulla to head the panel.