/ Ayodhya Land Dispute: SC Grants Mediation Panel Time Till 15 Aug

The Quint : May 10, 2019, 11:06 AM

The Supreme Court on Friday, 10 May, conducted the hearing on the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

The the three-member mediation committee has submitted report and sought extension from the apex court till 15 August to complete the mediation process. The top court, allowing the same, passed an order to that effect.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, heard the matter for the first time since the last hearing on 8 March.

The bench said, “Nobody will come in way of mediation process,” allowing parties to raise objections before panel till 30 June.

Earlier, the sources aware of the development said the interim report was filed with the apex court registry on 6 May, and the matter has been listed for hearing on Friday, 10 May.

The matter came up for the first time on Friday since the 8 March order of the top court. It had said that the mediation process would commence within a week and the panel would submit the progress report within four weeks.

The panel was asked by the apex court to hold in-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks

The Constitution bench had said that it does not find any "legal impediment" to make a reference to mediation for a possible settlement of the dispute.

The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they oppose the court's suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies supported the proposal.

While oppoing the suggestion of mediation, Hindu bodies had argued that earlier attempts of reaching a compromise have failed and provisions of Civil Procedure Code (CPC) require public notice to be issued before the start of process.

Also Read : SC Seeks Report From Trial Judge in Babri Masjid Demolition Case

The top court had directed that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with "utmost confidentiality" for ensuring its success and the views expressed by any of the parties including the mediators should be kept confidential and not be revealed to any other person.

However, it had refrained from passing any specific restrain order at this stage and instead empowered the mediators to pass necessary orders in writing, if so required, to restrain publication of the details of the mediation proceedings.

The top court had fixed the seat for mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around 7 km from Ayodhya, and said that the adequate arrangements including the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security, travel should be forthwith arranged by the state government so that proceedings could commence immediately.

It had also directed that the mediation proceedings be held in-camera as per the norms applicable to conduct the mediation proceedings

Also Read : Ayodhya Muslims Fear for Their Lives: Babri Masjid Litigant 

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.