New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered for mediation in the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. The Constitution Bench of the apex court referred the land dispute case for a court-appointed and monitored mediation for a “permanent solution”.

The bench, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, comprised Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

Reports said the mediation panel would be headed by Justice F M Kalifulla and would also have Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu. Also, the proceedings would be confidential, would be held on-camera and the media has been banned from publishing its details.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi said mediation would be held in Faizabad. ANI reported that the apex court has ruled that the mediation process must begin within four weeks and the subsequent status report be submitted in another four weeks.

The court said mediators can co-opt more on the panel, if necessary. The Uttar Pradesh government would have to provide the mediators all the facilities in Faizabad and they would be free to seek further legal assistance as and when required.

During the earlier hearing on Wednesday, the five-judge bench had reserved order on mediation talks between Muslim and Hindu petitioners.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Supreme Court order, UP deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “I won’t question the SC order but in the past also, efforts were made to arrive at a solution but with no success. No Lord Ram devotee or saint wants a delay in construction of Ram Mandir.”

All India Muslim Personal Law Board member and convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee, Zafaryab Jilani was guarded in his reaction and said, “We have already said that we will cooperate in the mediation. Now, whatever we have to say, we will say it to the mediation panel, not outside.”