SC observes Ayodhya mediation panel has failed

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The mediation panel on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, the Supreme Court on Friday said and decided to hold day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, who was heading a Constitution bench, said, “We have received the mediation report. The mediation panel has not been able to achieve any final settlement. The hearing of the case will be on a day-to-day basis, hearing begin from August 6.”

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A senior lawyer appearing for one of the Muslim parties, Rajeev Dhavan, submitted to the Supreme Court that he will take 20 days to argue his case. To which, the CJI said, “We will see about it.”

A Constitution bench, headed by Justice Gogoi, had on July 18 asked the three-member committee, headed by retired apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, to continue with the mediation process and submit a report on the progress made till July 31.

The bench also comprising S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, took up a batch of petitions seeking an end to the mediation process and the start of hearing in the Ayodhya title suit.

The petitions have submitted that no progress has been made in the mediation ordered by the apex court to explore an amicable settlement to the land dispute.

Among the petitioners is Rajendra Singh, son of one of the original plaintiffs — Gopal Singh Visharad.

On July 11, K Parasaran, the senior lawyer for Singh, had argued that the mediation process is unlikely to yield any positive result.

“Since mediation is unlikely to bring any positive result, the court should give a date for a hearing in the case,” he had submitted.

However, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan had contested the stand taken by Parasaran for bringing the mediation process to end.

After perusing a report of the panel, the bench had said if it came to a conclusion that an amicable solution through mediation was not possible, then the court would commence day-to-day hearing in the matter.

On March 8, the court had constituted the panel which also comprises Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior Madras High Court advocate Sriram Panchu.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhyaamong the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(With Agency Inputs)

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