New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its order on whether the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case will be resolved through mediation.
The five-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said “in the event” the court ruled in favour of mediation, it wanted the parties to submit a list of names of people who could participate in the proceedings.
The top court was hearing a clutch of pleas that challenged the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment which, in a 2:1 majority, divided the contested land in Ayodhya in three equal parts among the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the deity Ram Lalla.
The hearing in the courtroom Wednesday saw vociferous protests from most of the Hindu groups against the suggestion for mediated resolution, whereas the Muslim faction accepted it. Nirmohi Akhara was the only Hindu group that was open to mediation.
With the debate heating up, ThePrint summarises the arguments made at Wednesday’s hearing.
Also read: Supreme Court reserves order on Ayodhya title dispute case
By and large, the Hindus were opposed to the court’s suggestion of mediation — they argued that the issue was not a mere property dispute, but a “religious” and “sentimental” one.
While opposing mediation, the Hindu Mahasabha said a public notice must be issued and the general public must be allowed to participate if the matter still persists.
Representing deity Lord Ram, advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan said, “The belief that the site is the birth place of Lord Ram is non-negotiable.”
He added, “Cannot have any other place be treated as the janmasthan (birth place). What would be the purpose of mediation? We cannot take a contrary view there.
“What can be considered is an alternate place for the mosque. We are willing to crowd-fund the construction of a mosque elsewhere,” said Vaidyanathan.
Also read: On Ayodhya dispute case, top court says can’t change what Babur did, must focus on present
The Muslim faction was in favour of mediation.
Representing the Sunni Wakf Board, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan said the terms of mediation would need to be formulated. He further said that the consent of all the parties was not required for the court to make a final decision.
What the court said
The top court observed that it was “conscious of the gravity of the dispute and its impact on the body politic”.
The court said it was simply trying to “heal relations”.
Assuring the parties that the mediation process would remain confidential, the court proposed a panel of mediators instead of a single mediator.
Justice S.A. Bobde, one of the five judges on the bench, said that while there would be no gag on the disclosure of the proceedings, no motive should be attributed to anyone while the process was on.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, another judge on the bench, then posed a query that since the Ayodhya dispute was between two communities and not two private parties, how could the court bind them under the mediated resolution, if any.
To this, Bobde said that in the event there was a resolution to the issue, and the court accepted the compromise, then it would become a decree. This decree is then binding.
Also read: Supreme Court’s fresh push for Ayodhya mediation brings back 160 years of failed attempts
This issue has no solution… It is better for the Supreme Court to just drag on endlessly…. Or come up with a All Faiths Center at the location or convert it to a museum of riots in India or something… Giving it to any party even dividing it will cause public outcry…
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