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Ayodhya-Babri Title Dispute : SC Says Mediation Attempts Failed; To Hear Appeals From August 6

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
2 Aug 2019 8:37 AM GMT
Ayodhya-Babri Title Dispute : SC Says Mediation Attempts Failed; To Hear Appeals From August 6
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The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday said that it will start hearing the appeals related to Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute on day to day basis from August 6.The Court told the parties that it has received a report from the SC-appointed panel comprising former SC judge Justice F M Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu stating that the...

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday said that it will start hearing the appeals related to Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute on day to day basis from August 6.

The Court told the parties that it has received a report from the SC-appointed panel comprising former SC judge Justice F M Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu stating that the mediation talks had ended in failure. On Thursday, the panel formally informed all the participants that the mediation had not been successful and the proceedings have been formally closed. 

On July 18, the Supreme Court had asked the mediation panel to submit by July 31 a report regarding the progress in negotiation talks. The CJI-led constitution bench had said that if the panel expressed its inability to resolve the dispute related to 2.77 acres of land through mediation, the Court will start hearing the appeals on a day to day basis.

This development happened after one of the plaintiffs from the Hindu side in the dispute filed an application for early hearing of the appeals on merits.

Senior Advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the applicant in the early hearing petition Gopal Singh Visharad, had submitted that despite several joint sessions, no progress  took place in mediation. It is difficult to reach a settlement in a dispute of this nature, which affects beliefs and sentiments of several devotees, said Parasaran. Therefore it is better to authoritatively dispose of the dispute through adjudication, he had suggested.

Opposing this, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim groups in the case, had submitted "just because one party has become fed up should not stop the process. They are saying scrap the mediation. This is against order dated May 10".

It may be recalled that on May 10, the SC had extended the time till August 15 to complete the mediation.

On March 8, the CJI-led Constitution Bench had referred the matter to mediation by a panel of former SC judge Justice F M Kalifulla, 'Art of Living' founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate and acclaimed mediator Sriram Panchu. The mediation was directed to be held at Faizabad in UP, where the site of dispute is located.

The reference to mediation was made in a bunch of appeals against the 2010 verdict of Allahabad High Court which ruled that the 2.77 acres of Ayodhya land be divided into 3 parts, with 1/3 going to the Ram Lalla or Infant Rama represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, 1/3 going to the Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1/3 going to a Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara.

By a 2:1 majority, the HC bench of Justices S.U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D.V. Sharma held that the portion under the central dome of the demolished three-dome structure where the idol of Ram Lalla had been kept in a makeshift temple was the birthplace of Lord Rama "as per faith and belief of the Hindus."

In his dissenting judgment, Justice Sharma categorically stated that "the disputed site is the birthplace of Lord Ram" and held that Hindus had exclusive rights over the disputed site.

In the proceedings before SC, the Hindu groups had opposed the reference to mediation. They submitted that the matter was not a mere property dispute, but was concerning faith and sentiments.

On the other hand, Muslim groups expressed their willingness to participate in mediation.

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