Ayodhya Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Case HIGHLIGHTS: The Supreme Court Friday referred the decades-old Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute case for mediation. The five-judge bench headed by CJI Gogoi constituted a three-member mediation panel headed by former SC judge Justice F M Kalifullah to resolve the issue. The other members of the panel include spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu.
The mediation process will be held in Faizabad and will start within a week, the Supreme Court said, The process should be done “utmost confidentiality,” and should be concluded in eight weeks. The first status report is to be submitted in four weeks. The bench also said the panel of mediators may co-opt more members in case of any difficulty. The media is refrained from publishing the details of the proceedings. “We do not find any legal impediment in referring the matter to mediation,” the bench said.
During the hearing, the court observed that the issue is primarily not about the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, but about religious sentiments. The bench said it could only decide on the property and what it was looking at was “a possibility of healing relationships.” Most of the Hindu petitioners, including those representing deity Ramlalla Virajman, and the Uttar Pradesh government have opposed the offer of mediation. The Muslim bodies have extended their support to the idea but have raised objections over privacy during the negotiations.
Supreme Court ordered mediation in Ayodhya land dispute case. Read HIGHLIGHTS
Sri Sri (unsuccessful) attempt at settling Ayodhya dispute began in 2017
The Supreme Court Friday ordered for mediation to find a solution to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Mosque title suit dispute in eight weeks and named Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar among two others in the mediation panel. It was in 2017 that Sri Sri first began the effort – thus far unsuccessful – to mediate between the disputing parties.
Sri Sri first met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on November 15, 2017. After meeting the CM, Sri Sri met RSS pracharak Mahirajdwaj Singh, Mahant Suresh Das of Ayodhya’s Digambar Akhara, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar and representatives of several other Muslim organisations. He also met Raja Ramachandracharya of Nirmohi Akhara, Swami Chakrapani of Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena state chief Anil Singh in Lucknow.
The next day, on November 16, Sri Sri visited Ayodhya and said the only solution to the Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute was to construct a grand temple with the cooperation of both Hindus and Muslims.
Read more here
Mediation is the only way: Sri Sri Ravishankar
"I just heard of this news, I think this will be good for the country, mediation is the only way," Sri Sri Ravishankar was quoted as saying by ANI after being appointed by Supreme Court in the Ayodhya mediation panel.
Will take every effort to resolve Ayodhya dispute amicably: Justice (retired) FM Ibrahim Kalifullah, head of mediator panel
Justice (retired) FM Ibrahim Kalifullah who will head the mediation panel said the committee will take "every effort" to resolve the "Ayodhya dispute amicably." He also added that he is yet to receive the order copy
Temple should be built where Lord Ram was born: Uma Bharti
Union Minister Uma Bharti refused to comment on the SC judgment but said that a "temple should be made where Lord Ram was born. ""I don't want to comment on the Supreme Court order. I don't want to comment on the mediators named by the court. But as a Hindu, I think, a temple should be made where Lord Ram was born," she said, reported ANI
SC should have appointed a 'neutral' mediator instead of Sri Sri: Owaisi
Referring to Sri Sri's earlier remarks on Ayodhya, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the court should have appointed a "neutral person" as a mediator. "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who has been appointed a mediator had earlier made a statement 'if muslims don't give up their claim on Ayodhya, India will become Syria.' It would've been better if SC had appointed a neutral person," he told, reported ANI
Who is Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu?
Sriram Panchu, who is also based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is a senior advocate and mediator. He has been described as “one of the foremost mediators in the country” by the Supreme Court. He has mediated in a wide range of civil and commercial disputes. Two notable disputes he has mediated were a 500 square kilometre dispute between Assam and Nagaland, and a public dispute involving the Parsi community in Bombay.
Panch is the president of the national association Mediators India, and a Board member of the International Mediation Institute. He is also a certified mediator of the Singapore International Mediation Institute.
Mayawati welcomes Supreme Court's verdict, calls it an 'honest effort'
BSP supremo Mayawati welcomed the Supreme Court's judgment allowing mediation in Ayodhya case. Calling it an "honest effort," Mayawati on Twitter wrote, "Hon'ble Court looking for 'a possibility of healing relationships' is an appreciable move. BSP welcomes it."
Who is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam in Tamil Nadu. He is a spiritual leader, who advocated a stress-free, violence-free world. Sri Sri founded the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values.
Sri Sri has previously suggested an out-of-court settlement over the Ayodhya dispute. Last year, Sri Sri had said that the only solution to the Ayodhya dispute was to construct a grand temple with the cooperation of both Hindus and Muslims. “If this issue has to be resolved forever, the only solution is that a grand temple is constructed with cooperation of both communities,” he had said, while offering to explore ways for an out-of-court settlement.
Who is Justice (retired) F M Ibrahim Kalifullah?
Justice Kalifulla, son of late Justice M Fakkir Mohamed, hails from Karaikudi in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. He was enrolled as an advocate on August 20, 1975, and was an active labour law practitioner. He became a permanent judge in the Madras High Court in 2000. Among his notable judgments during his tenure at the Madras HC was the dissenting view that election to a local body — the Chennai City Corporation — was liable to be set aside.
On September 18, 2011, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, after which he was elevated to the Supreme Court on April 2, 2012.
Justice Kalifulla was part of the Supreme Court bench headed by then Chief Justice T S Thakur which ordered sweeping changes in the structure, management and functioning of the BCCI. Justice Kalifulla retired on July 22, 2016.
Turning dreams to reality, ending conflict should be the goal: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who has been named in the mediation panel said ending "long-standing conflicts" should be the goal that everyone works towards.
Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals.#ayodhyamediation— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 8, 2019
India may face civil war if issue not resolved amicably: Sri Sri's earlier remarks on Ayodhya
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of the members of the mediation panel, had earlier said that out-of-court settlement is an ideal solution for Ayodhya dispute. He also said if the issue is not amicably, then the country may face a “large-scale” communal flare-up. Sri Sri wrote an open letter to the AIMPLB members saying going through the court was a loss for both Hindus and Muslims and an out-of-court settlement would be a “win-win situation” for both the communities.
Ravi Shankar said the best solution would be an out-of-court settlement, in which the Muslim bodies come forward and gift one acre of land to the Hindus, who, in turn, would gift five acres of land nearby to the Muslims to build a bigger mosque. Read more
Will co-operate in mediation process: Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB member
Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB member and convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee said it would co-operate in the mediation process. "We have already said that we will cooperate in the mediation. Now, whatever we have to say, we will say it to the mediation panel, not outside," he told ANI
Previous mediation efforts were unsuccessful: Keshav Prasad Maurya
Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "Won't question SC order. In the past,efforts made to arrive at a solution,but with no success. No Lord Ram devotee or saint wants delay in construction of Ram Mandir," news agency ANI reported
SC orders mediation - what do we know so far?
* Mediation to take begin in a week in Faizabad
* Panel to be headed by former SC judge Justice F M Kalifullah.
* Panel also includes spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu
* 'Utmost confidentiality' to be maintained
* Should be completed in eight weeks
* First status report to be submitted in a month
Supreme Court orders mediation in Ayodhya land dispute
The mediation process will be held in Faizabad and will be a confidential process. The media is refrained from publishing the details of the proceedings. Justice FM Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sriram Panchu will be in the panel of mediators, Bar & bench reported. Most of the Hindu petitioners, the Uttar Pradesh government, Ramlalla Virajman have opposed the offer of mediation. The Mulsim bodies have extended their support to the idea, but have raised objections over privacy during the negotiations.
Ram temple at Ayodhya non-negotiable, will crowdfund to build mosque at alternate land: Counsel for deity Ram Lalla Virajman
Senior Counsel C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the deity Ram Lalla Virajman, too sought to stress that mediation would not be feasible. “The question of building a temple at the site of birth of Ram is non-negotiable. What can best be done is to give alternate land for building Mosque. And we are willing to crowdfund it,” he told the bench. Justice Bobde told him that he could raise the point during mediation.
Vaidyanathan pointed out that negotiation had been attempted even before by the Allahabad High Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said mediation was not advisable given the circumstances.
Ayodhya dispute question of our faith, no compromise will be made: Hindu Mahasabha
During the hearings, advocate Hari Shankar Jain, representing a faction of the Hindu Mahasabha, said the mediation process was bound to fail as there could be no compromise on the place of the birth of Lord Ram. “It’s a question of our faith and sentiments. It’s Ramjanmabhoomi. There is no question of compromise,” he said.
Justice Bobde replied saying, "You are assuming that there can only be one outcome… Are you not saying it’s going to be failure even before we have ordered it… That is not fair. That is prejudging the outcome.” "We are of view that this is not just a dispute about the land. It’s one about sentiments," he added
Who are in the favour of mediation and who are against it?
The suggestion of a mediated settlement faced opposition from the counsel for Ramlalla Virajman and Mahant Suresh Das, who said that it had been attempted in the past, and had failed. While the Nirmohi Akhara backed the suggestion. The ‘Muslim’ parties said they were as such, not opposed to the apex court’s suggestion of a mediated settlement.
Hindu bodies like Nirmohi Akhara suggested the names of Justices (retd) Kurian Joseph, AK Patnaik and GS Singhvi as mediators, while the Hindu Mahasabha faction of Swami Chakrapani proposed the names of former CJIs Justices J S Khehar and Dipak Misra and Justice (retd) A K Patnaik to the bench.
SC sought views of the parties involved, citing Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The bench sought the views of the parties involved, citing Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Under Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, judges must ensure that all avenues to resolve a dispute outside the Court have been exhausted.
Section 89 states: “Where it appears to the court that there exist elements of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, the court shall formulate the terms of settlement and give them to the parties for their observations and after receiving the observations of the parties, the court may reformulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for (a) arbitration; (b) conciliation; (c) judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat; or (d) mediation”.
Who is on the Supreme Court bench?
The five-judge bench is headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi. It also comprises of Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. They are hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court which ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh and Ramlalla Virajman.
Don’t tell us history... don't tell us what we already know: Supreme Court
During the hearing, when the counsel of one of the parties in favour of a Ram temple at the Ayodhya site submitted that it was difficult to forget what invaders had done in the past, Justice Bobde said: “Don’t tell us history. We have also read history… Don’t tell us what we already know. We have no control over what happened in the past… of Babur… and so we cannot undo that. We can only undo what exists in the present moment and that’s the dispute.”
Give a bit, take a bit: Former CJI J S Khehar on mediation in Ayodhya case
Former CJI J S Khehar had also made an attempt at mediation in Ayodhya case. “Give a bit, take a bit. Make an effort to sort it out. These are issues best decided jointly. these are issues of sentiments and religion. The court should come in the picture only if you cannot settle it. If the parties want me to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, I am ready to take up the task,” he told in 2017
This attempt by the court at coaxing the parties into negotiating a settlement was, however, not formal, and did not go anywhere.
Ayodhya case not only about property, but about mind, heart and healing: SC
Reserving the verdict on Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that the judges were aware of the history and was seeing that the dispute be resolved amicably as "It is not only about property. It is about mind, heart and healing, if possible." It also said it was conscious of the gravity and impact of the issue on "public sentiment" and also on "body politics of the country".
Mediation as a way out in Ayodhya - Earlier attempts
This is not the first time that the mediation offer has come up as a solution to resolve the Ayodhya land dispute. The three-judge Bench of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, too, had tried mediation. After arguments concluded on August 3, 2010, the Bench had called all lawyers into the chamber and asked whether they wanted to reconcile. The process had collapsed apparently after the ‘Hindu’ side said it was not acceptable.
Even before the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 in fact, there were serious attempts at talks and working back channels between the VHP and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, overseen by at least three Prime Ministers, but mostly Chandra Shekhar and PV Narasimha Rao. But the demolition put paid to all that.
While the current attempt by the Supreme Court at mediation is not new, the difference between it and the earlier attempts is that none of the earlier moves were court-mandated or referred. Read more
Welcome to the live blog. A five-judge bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will today take a call on whether Ayodhya land dispute case can be sent for possible mediation. The verdict is likely to be delivered at 10.30 am today. Follow this space to track the latest developments