The hearing in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid land dispute case before the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court could not commence in view of the disagreement between the parties over the veracity of translation of records.
The Court also suggested that parties explore the option of mediated settlement. However, the Hindu parties represented by Senior Counsel C S Vaidyanathan and Ranjit Kumar were not open to the idea of mediation. The Muslim groups represented by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan expressed their willingness for mediation, if the Court directed so. The Court will pass orders on next Tuesday on whether the issue should be referred to a Court appointed mediator.
The hearing was adjourned for six weeks to enable the parties to examine the translations of records prepared by the UP Government. The parties were directed by the Court to examine the records and point out their objections.
At the outset, the CJI made it clear that the hearing will commence only if parties accept the translations prepared by the UP Government as authentic. The report submitted by the Secretary General to the Court was read out by the CJI to the parties, which indicated that the records ran into nearly 38,000 pages, in the languages of English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and Gurumukhi.
While Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan, who appeared for Ram Lalla, endorsed the authenticity of translations, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan, who appeared for Sunni Waqf Board, objected.
"We have not got the opportunity to examine the translations prepared by UP Government", said Dhawan.
This was objected to by Vaidyanathan, by submitting that the parties had accepted the translations as authentic way back in December 2017, and had agreed for final hearing.
In view of this disagreement, the CJI remarked that the Court will not waste its time if parties are not agreeable on translations.
Keeping in mind that the mediation suggested by the Court is in terms of the mandate under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and in an appropriate case it will always be open for the Court to invoke its power, we deem it proper to observe that the mediation suggested is only to effectively utilize the time of eight weeks that would be taken to make the cases ready for hearing.
We defer passing of orders on the aforesaid suggestion i.e. mediation until 6th of March, 2019 28 (Wednesday) when this Bench will assemble again at 10.30 a.m. for the limited purpose of passing orders on reference of the dispute to a Court appointed mediation process.
Read the Order