The Supreme Court is likely to peruse on Thursday a report on the “progress of mediation” in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had on July 11 sought a report on the issue and said that a day-to-day hearing may commence from July 25 if the court decides to conclude the mediation proceedings.
The bench had requested former apex court judge Justice (Retd) FMI Kalifulla, chairperson of the three-member mediation panel, to apprise it by July 18 the progress of mediation till date and its present stage.
“It will be convenient to have the said report latest by July 18, on which date further orders will be passed by this court,” the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, had said on July 11.
It passed the order while hearing an application filed by a legal heir of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and conclusion of the mediation process, alleging that nothing much was happening there.
It had said that the court would pass appropriate orders on July 18 after perusing the report filed by the mediation committee.
The panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, was earlier granted time till August 15 by the apex court for completion of mediation after its earlier report had said that the mediators were “optimistic” about an amicable solution.
The top court had fixed the seat for the mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around 7 km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements, including those related to the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security and travel, should be arranged forthwith by the state government so that the proceedings could commence immediately.
The bench was earlier told by Hindu bodies, except the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they were not in favour of the court’s suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies had supported the proposal.
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 December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.