Supreme Court (file photo)
Supreme Court (file photo)

SC reserves order on issue of court-monitored mediation in Ayodhya title dispute case

ANI | Updated: Mar 06, 2019 21:25 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 6 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the issue of referring Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case to court-appointed and monitored mediation for a “permanent solution”, saying it intends to give a decision soon.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the parties concerned could suggest the name of a mediator or panel of mediators who could be considered if it decides to refer the matter for mediation.
"We intend to pass the order soon," the court said.
The bench also comprised Justices S A Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer. 
During today's hearing, Justice Bobde said, “It’s about sentiments, about religion and about faith. We are conscious of the gravity of the dispute."
"There need not be one mediator but a panel of mediators. When the mediation is on, it should not be reported on. It may not be a gag, but no motive should be attributed to anyone when the mediation process is on," he said.
Justice Bobde said, "We have no control over what happened in the past, who invaded, who was the king, temple or mosque. We know about the present dispute. We are concerned only about resolving the dispute."
Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who appeared for a group of Muslim petitioners, said, "Muslim petitioners are agreeable to mediation and any compromise or settlement will bind parties." He asked the bench to frame terms for mediation.
After the hearing, Vishnu Shankar Jain, the lawyer of Hindu Mahasabha, said that he clearly stated that the mediation should not be attempted as a public notice has to be issued, which could delay the case.
"The Supreme Court reserved the order on mediation. The Hindu Mahasabha have taken a clear stand on that mediation cannot happen since it is Lord Ram's land and public notice has to be issued. While (advocate) Rajeev Dhavan and Nirmohi Akhada agreed on mediation, other Hindu parties, including Hindu Mahasabha and Ram Lalla Virajmaan, clearly stated that mediation should not be attempted," Jain told reporters here.
"Justice Bobde had said that this is a matter of faith for the people. If a public notice is issued, then every individual will be called for mediation and the case could be further delayed," he added.
Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants in the Ayodhya matter, said he would respect the apex court's decision.
"I will respect the court's decision. Whatever the court says, I will respect it," he told ANI.
During the previous hearing on February 26, the bench had suggested an amicable resolution in the case through mediation and reserved its order for March 6.
It had told the parties, “We're seriously giving a chance for mediation."
The bench had said, “We have suggested to the parties that during the interregnum a court-appointed and court-monitored mediation with utmost confidentiality could be initiated to bring a permanent solution to the issues raised in the cases.”
“Even if there is only one per cent chance, it should be explored," Justice Bobde had said emphasising for mediation in the matter.
While Muslim side and Nimrohi Akhada from the Hindu side in the case agreed for mediation, the counsel appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and Mahant Suresh Das were opposed to it saying court-appointed mediation had failed on earlier occasions.
The bench had recorded that apart from Nirmohi Akhada, Hindu sides in the case were not agreeable to mediation and that it could invoke its power under Section 89 of Civil Procedure Code for alternate dispute mechanism.
"We are considering a possibility of healing relationship," the bench had observed.
There are fourteen appeals before the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment trifurcating the disputed site at Ayodhya for Ram Lalla, Nimrohi Akhara and the original Muslim litigant.
Several other appeals have also been filed in the court relating to the issue. (ANI)