Ayodhya case: SC gives further time to mediation panel

PTI File photo.

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Justice F M I Kalifullah-headed panel to continue mediation to amicably resolve the Ayodhya dispute related to Babri mosque and RamTemple.

A five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought further report from the panel by July 31.

The court said the hearing in the case may take place from August 2, if required.

On March 8, the court had referred the 70-year-old dispute for mediation by a panel headed by Justice Kalifulla to find out the possibility of an amicable settlement, though Hindu sides have opposed it.

Spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, are two members of the panel of mediators.

On Thursday, after going through a status report from the mediation panel, the court declined to its disclose contents of the report, saying confidentiality has to be maintained in terms of its order of March 8.

As soon as the five-judge bench assembled, the CJI started dictating the order in the matter.

It stated pursuant to the order of July 11, Justice Kalifullah, chairman of the mediation panel, appointed by it, has submitted a report.

"As by our previous order of March 8, we had directed the proceedings of the panel have to remain confidential, we don't deem it proper to it put on record," the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said.

"However, taking into account of what has been brought to our notice, we
fix hearing of the case, if required, on and from August 2 at 2 pm," the bench added.

The bench also requested the mediation committee to inform the court of the outcome of its proceedings on July 31, to "enable us to pass further orders".

The court, meanwhile, allowed a plea by one of the parties to point out the discrepancy in translation of records during the hearing.

The top court had on May 10 granted the mediation panel further time till August 15 to find out an amicable solution to the dispute.

A batch of appeals against the Allahabad High Court's 2010 judgement for the division of the disputed land among Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara in three equal parts, is pending before the apex court.

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