The Supreme Court Tuesday will decide if the Ayodhya title dispute matter could be sent for mediation. Hearing the case on February 26, a five-judge Constitution Bench gave a week’s time to the parties involved to explore the possibility of settling the matter through an in-camera, court-monitored process of mediation that could pave the way for a “healing”.
“We are seriously thinking over giving mediation a try since the dispute is not about anybody’s private property… Even if there is 1 per cent chance of an amicable resolution, it should be given a try,” Justice S A Bobde said.
“The mediation will be concurrent to the suits pending before the court… Mediation will be a confidential process too,” he added.
The other judges on the Bench are Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan, and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
The Bench is hearing appeals against the Allahabad High Court verdict of September 30, 2010, which had ordered the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site to be split three ways among the Nirmohi Akhara sect, Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh, and Ramlalla Virajman.
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.
Earlier in 2010, the three-judge Bench of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court had, after all arguments had concluded tried mediation. The lawyers were made to assemble in a chamber and asked if they wished to reconcile but the process collapsed apparently after the ‘Hindu’ side said it was not acceptable.
The Supreme Court had in March 2017 termed the dispute a matter of “sentiments and religion” and called for an amicable settlement.