New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday will pronounce order on whether the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute matter will be referred to mediation for amicable settlement. The verdict is likely at 10.30 AM.

Earlier on Wednesday, the five-judge Constitution Bench of top court hearing the case had reserved order on mediation talks between Muslim and Hindu petitioners.

The bench, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, had concluded the hearing by asking stakeholders to give the names of possible mediators.

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 JS Khehar and Dipak Misra and Justice (retd) AK Patnaik to the bench.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the apex court had observed that primarily the issue is not about 1,500 square feet land, but about religious sentiments. “We are conscious about the gravity of the issue and we are also conscious about its impact on body politic of the country. We understand how it goes and are looking at minds, hearts and healing if possible,” the bench said.

Responding to a lawyer’s contention about the injustices meted out to the Hindus by invaders in the past, the bench said, “We are not concerned what has happened in the past. Don’t you think we have read the history. We are not concerned what Babar did in the past or who was the king and who invaded. We cannot undo what has happened but we can go into what exists in the present moment”.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the legal heirs of original litigant M Siddiq, said that outlining of the dispute is not necessary and court can order mediation by an mediator, when parties are unable to settle it. To this, the bench said that there may not be one mediator but a panel of mediators to deal with the issue. It also agreed with Dhavan’s contention that confidentiality of proceedings should be maintained and said it thinks there has to be complete ban on media reporting on the developments of mediation process.

During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud said that considering it is not just a property dispute between the parties but a dispute involving two communities, it would be very difficult to bind millions of people by way of mediation.

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for Hindu deity Ram Lala Virajman had said the faith that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhaya is not negotiable but the question is of Rama Janamsthan (birth place). “We are even willing to crowd-fund a mosque somewhere else but no negotiations can take place with respect of Lord Rama’s birthplace. Mediation won’t serve any purpose,” he had said.

The Allahabad High Court in its 2010 judgement, in four civil suits, delivered 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. Till now, 14 appeals have been filed in the apex court against the verdict.

(Inputs from PTI)