Ayodhya-Babri Masjid Hearing: Courtroom Exchange
Senior Advocate K. Parasaran, appearing for the plaintiff in the first suit in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, Gopal Singh Vishara, sought the indulgence of the court to decide on the dispute-
"As the highest court, Your Lordships have the authority to dispose off the matter if you so intend"
When Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that time has been granted for mediation, he sought to submit that some stake-holders have not been able to join the process, that the court may also proceed with the adjudication, and that if a settlement happens to be affected in the mediation, an order could be passed. He added that even in the Allahabad High Court, the appeals from the 2010 verdict of which are listed before the five-judge bench, the three judges had asked all the lawyers in the matter to come one-by-one in an attempt to reconcile.
"My suit was filed in 1950, even prior to the Constitution coming into existence. Now the plaintiff has died and his son is on record", he advanced.
Next, Senior Advocate Sushil Kumar Jain, for the Nirmohi Akhada, also contended,
"The mediator should try to make the parties meet. The parties should come together. There has to be some meeting, otherwise, how can there be mediation?... They are all worshipers, not the title suitors..."
At this point, Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhawan, for the Sunni Waqf Board, countered,
"It is not fair at this point in time to criticise the mediation committee which is not before Your Lordships. Our understanding is that the committee has met people jointly and then also separately"
"Don't tell us all this. What we have in mind is to call for the report", remarked the Chief Justice.
"If you pass an order on this application, it will be a recall of the order by virtue of the committee was granted an extension of time...Just because one party is fed-up of the mediation, they cannot come to you to override the entire process. They don't say 'recall', but they are asking for the mediation to be scrapped! I object to an application of this nature. Please don't even issue notice. What is the purpose of it? To intimidate us? Actually very serious mediation is happening. Please let it not be scrapped on the strength of this application..."
"We constituted the committee. We are entitled to know what is happening", asserted the Chief Justice.
"If they said 'call for the report', it would have been fine. But just because one party is not fine with the mediation, they cannot say scrap it on our account!", urged Dr. Dhawan.
In his turn. Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, for Ram Lalla, argued,
"The first suit was filed in 1950. It has been almost 70 years since then. The Allahabad High Court decision came in 2010...The matter should be heard at the earliest so that it can be resolved...I have a list of dates where advocates have participated (unclear)..."
"No. We will go by our orders. Let our mediators speak", noted the Chief Justice, directing the Chairman of the mediation committee, Justice Khalifullah, to inform the court of the progress of the mediation and the stage at which the process is presently latest by July 18.