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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

SC reserves order on whether Ayodhya title dispute should be settled through mediation

The parties supporting the construction of Ram temple, including the Uttar Pradesh government, argued that mediation would be futile considering the sensitive nature of the case and urged the court to resolve the dispute.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi |
Updated: March 6, 2019 3:03:54 pm
VHP Dharma Sabha rally in Delhi today The parties supporting the construction of Ram temple, including the Uttar Pradesh government, argued that mediation would be futile considering the sensitive nature of the case and urged the court to resolve the dispute.

The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its order on whether or not to refer the Ayodhya dispute for mediation, with a five-judge Constitution bench reiterating that it wanted to give “healing” a chance and stating that it did not have control over the past and can only try to undo the present dispute.

“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 Babar…and so we cannot undo that. We can only undo what exists in the present moment and that’s the dispute,” Justice S A Bobde observed when a counsel backing the temple asked how could Hindus forget what the invaders had done in the past.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also comprised Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

At the very outset, that the idea to settle the matter through mediation was strongly opposed.

“It’s a question of our faith. It’s Ramjanambhoomi. There is no question compromise,” the counsel for one of the Hindu petitioners asserted.

Justice Bobde replied, “it’s unfair to prejudge outcome…We are of view this is not just a dispute about the land, but one involving sentiments”.

“We are conscious of the dispute, conscious of the body politic of this country. That’s how this idea (whether it should be referred to mediation) came. We are looking at minds, hearts and healing if possible,” Justice Bobde added.

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.

Justice Chandrachud sought to know how the matter can be referred to mediation when there is no agreement between parties to do so. He, however, stressed on “the importance of a negotiated settlement” and added “that’s the best way to restore peace”.

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