The Supreme Court-appointed mediators in the Ayodhya title dispute, who had closed mediation proceedings in July and filed a final report, have submitted a memorandum to the CJI-led Constitution Bench, seeking “directions” from the bench on two letters they have received. The letters, written by Zufar Farooqui, chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board, and Dharam Das of the Nirvani Akhara, have called for resumption of the mediation process.
Sources confirmed that the mediators have sought directions from the court on the way ahead. Currently, day-to-day hearings in the Ayodhya matter are being held before the five-member Constitution Bench. One of the two letters has suggested hearings from Monday to Friday and mediation on Saturday and Sunday.
The Sunni Waqf Board, which secured one-third of the disputed land as per the Allahabad High Court verdict on September 30, 2010, is an original litigant. The Nirvani Akhara is not directly a party to the present proceedings in the Supreme Court. Sources said the mediators are keen to have a “parallel process of talks alongside the arguments going on in court, not in lieu of arguments currently going on”.
After the Chief Justice of India announced that mediation has “failed”, final hearing on the 14 appeals in the matter is being heard since August 6. Those in favour of a temple on the site concluded their arguments in 16 days while those arguing for a mosque have argued for eight days so far.
The team of mediators, appointed by a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was mandated to explore options for a settlement of the Ayodhya dispute between the different parties. It held a series of meetings with all sides till the Supreme Court asked them to finally inform them about the results. The mediators, led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, include Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. They submitted a final report in August, stating that the mediation process had “failed”.
As reported by The Indian Express on August 5, an attempt was made by the committee to reach an agreement. After a firm proposal submitted by those asking for the mosque did not elicit any response from those in favour of the temple, the committee tried to get a consensus on what it called “the four elements” for reaching a deal. But as some of the contesting parties did not agree to these proposals, the committee had to report to the Supreme Court that the proceedings had “failed”.