What SC suggestion on settlement means now?

What SC suggestion on settlement means now?

The Supreme Court’s suggestion for a negotiated settlement to the Ram janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute — with the Chief Justice of India even offering to act as a mediator between the two sides laying claim over the historic site in Ayodhya —is a first of its kind.

A clearer picture is likely to emerge only after March 31 by which time the apex court has asked Dr Subramanian Swamy to consult the parties and inform it about the possibilities of negotiation, names of the people who may represent both groups and mediators.

Dr Swamy had moved the court for an early hearing of a civil dispute over the site where Hindu groups say Lord Ram was born. 

Hitherto, at least nine attempts have been made to arrive at a negotiated settlement on this issue. All of them have failed to yield any result. Among the nine failed negotiations, three were initiated by former prime ministers —Chandra Shekhar, P V Narasimha Rao and A B Vajpayee. In fact, as historians recall, the British tried for a deal in 1859. They put  up a fence to separate the places of worship for both communities. The inner court was to be used by Muslims and the outer court by the Hindus. The arrangement could not last long as Mahant Raghubar Das filed a suit in 1885 seeking permission to build a canopy on “Ram Chabutra”.

Cut to 1990, the then prime minister Chandra Shekhar tried to resolve the dispute through negotiations involving controversial Chandra Swami with volunteers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). When he became PM,  Narasimha Rao asked some religious heads to negotiate, but they failed.

In December 1992, a fanatic mob demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

No headway
In 2002, Vajpayee as PM set up an Ayodhya cell in his office and appointed a senior official, Shatrughan Singh, to hold talks. But no headway was made.

In 2010, a three-judge bench of the Allahabad high court said Ram was born under the central dome of the makeshift temple and Hindus have the right to worship there.

The court also ruled by a majority verdict that the disputed  site of 2.77 acres (120 feet by 90 feet plot) land be divided into three equal parts among the three petitioners — Sunni Wakf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the party representing Ram Lalla.

The Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the high court’s decision after admitting appeals from Hindu and Muslim groups. The case has been pending since then.

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