An exterior view of Babri Masjid
An officer from the Border Security Force guarding Babri Masjid | Robert Nickelsberg | Liaison
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday extended till August 15 the time for a panel of mediators, headed by former apex court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla, to explore an amicable solution to the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute at Ayodhya.

A five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said they have received the report from Justice Kalifulla in which the panel has sought extension of time till August 15 to complete mediation proceedings.

“If the mediators are optimistic about the result and are seeking time till August 15, what is the harm in granting time? This issue has been pending for years and years. Why should we not grant time,” the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the parties.

The counsel appearing for both the Hindu and Muslim parties expressed confidence over the ongoing mediation proceedings and said they are fully cooperating with the process.

At the outset the bench said they have received the report on May 7 from the chairman of the panel and they have requested the court to consider extending the time till August 15 to complete the mediation proceedings.

“We have perused and considered the report of May 7 of Justice F M I Kalifulla indicating the progress made in the mediation proceeding.”

“Chairman of the mediation committee has sought extension of time till August 15 to enable the committee to find an amicable solution. We are inclined to grant time till August 15,” the bench said.

One of the advocates appearing in the matter said the apex court had earlier given eight weeks time to the panel of mediators and now nine weeks have gone by.

“We had given eight weeks and the report has come. We are not inclined to tell you what is there in the report of the committee,” the bench said.

One of the counsel told the bench that there are around 13,990 pages of documents in vernacular languages and said some wrong translations have been made which would be a problem.

“Objections, if any, on the translation may be placed on the record by written note by June 30,” the bench said, adding, “Nobody will come in the way of mediation”.

The top court had fixed the seat for mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around 7 km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements including the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security, travel should be forthwith arranged by the state government so that proceedings could commence immediately.

It had also directed that the mediation proceedings be held in-camera as per norms applicable to conduct mediation proceedings.

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.


Also readWhat Sardar Patel said on Ayodhya is relevant to mediation today


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Why Muslims should be magnamoniuos, let this time big brother show courage and follow the truth and construct grand mosque.

  2. If one steps back from dry legalese, the contesting parties that are before the apex court, to the larger societal issue. This is a dispute between two dominant communities. For some / many Hindus, it is an article of faith that the contested site is the exact spot where Lord Ram was born. It should be commemorated by the construction of a temple in his honour. No other outcome is acceptable. If a mosque that had stood on the site for more than 450 years had to be demolished, accompanied by riots and loss of life, that is a price worth paying. For the Muslim community – notwithstanding the fact that the mosque may have fallen into disuse and there are several contemporary instances of a mosque being relocated, to subserve a political purpose – the movement leading upto demolition and the manner in which this issue has been kept alive represent an assault and a continuing threat to their security. All the more in light of what has happened over the last five years. 2. For the Muslim community – or the Sunni Waqf Board, as lawful owner of the land – to “ show magnanimity “, give up their “ claim “ would be seen by many of their members as an act of abject surrender, almost cowardice. Keep turning the other cheek. Promising them another site, even the funding to construct a grand mosque, would be no more than thirty pieces of silver. Both Muslims and Hindus understand in their hearts that it is not about constructing one more religious structure. It is like a tiger scent marking his territory. An act of ownership, dominion, exclusion. Either or. 3. After so much political capital has been expended on this issue by the Right, where is the question of accepting anything less than the unencumbered site, for construction to start. The arbitrators would be smoking hashish borrowed from the sadhus if they believe any award other than in favour of the temple would ever be accepted, not flung contemptuously out of the window. 4. Also the question of representation. How do either the arbitrators, or the contesting parties believe for a moment that anything agreed to them would be accepted by all of India’s Hindus and Muslims. On objective, scientific issues like sharing of river waters, the apex court’s awards are often received poorly on the ground, leading to violence and civil strife. On as emotive an issue as this, a “ compromise “ brokered by the apex court would be dead on arrival. It may be pleased to rule, judicially, judiciously on the well defined legal issues before it.

  3. Wonderful. One way or another, this issue had to be pushed beyond the general election. A hardy staple on the menu, every five years.

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