New Delhi: Four months after the Supreme Court directed a panel to mediate on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case, a litigant has approached the top court, saying the mediation is not likely to make any “headway” and that judicial adjudication is the “only solution”.
Gopal Singh Visharad, the first litigant in the civil dispute case, filed a plea Monday, stating that suggestions made during the meetings were “political in nature”.
“During the meetings, suggestions have been made which are not even within the scope of the present mediation in any way and are political in nature,” he said.
“This has convinced the applicant herein that mediation would not yield any fruitful result and the only solution is judicial adjudication,” Visharad added.
Advocate Vishnu Jain, representing the Hindu Mahasabha, another litigant in the case, concurred with Visharad’s plea and said this was one of the reasons why some litigants have stopped attending the mediation proceedings.
“Parties are not pleased with the mediation process,” said Jain, adding amid various demands, talks have failed.
The matter will be heard Thursday by a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, along with Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhusan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.
ThePrint tried to contact the litigants representing the Muslim side, but they were unavailable for comment.
‘No probability of any possible settlement’
Senior advocate P.S. Narasimha mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, seeking it to be heard judicially.
Visharad, whose plea filed in 1950 seeking the right to offer prayers at the disputed site kicked off the decades-long dispute, said the panel of mediators — led by former SC judge F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla — has failed to propose any concrete solution.
In his plea, Visharad submitted, “Despite initial reluctance in the process of mediation, the applicant herein wholeheartedly participated in the mediation proceedings conducted by the three eminent persons appointed by the court. However, in the three meetings participated during a period of five months, neither any concrete proposal has come from anyone nor any headway is likely to be made in the process of mediation.”
“The applicant does not feel that any substantial development has occurred/can occur and it appears that there is no probability of any possible settlement between the parties. In fact, the applicant herein was not even called to participate in the mediation proceedings that took place in the month of June 2019,” he added.
The three-member panel also comprises spiritual leader and founder of Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
The Supreme Court had, in March this year, referred the matter for mediation and tasked the panel with doing the job. The panel has been directed to conduct the proceedings with “utmost confidentiality”.
In May, the top court granted the panel additional time to complete the mediation. The panel, which was initially given eight weeks’ time, has to now submit its final report by 15 August.
Oldest land dispute case
Considered to be one of the oldest land dispute cases in the country, the religious and political implications associated with this matter has ensured that the issue always stayed in the limelight.
In the past 160 years, there have been at least nine failed attempts at mediation. However, this is the first time the issue is being mediated under the direct supervision of the apex court.