23 April 2021 4:49 PM GMT
Speaking at the virtual farewell function for Justice SA Bobde, SCBA president and senior advocate Vikas Singh narrated how the outgoing CJI had suggested roping in actor Shahrukh Khan in the mediation process of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute."Let me give out one secret from when Justice Bobde was part of the Constitution bench hearing the Ayodhya dispute. When the matter was...
Speaking at the virtual farewell function for Justice SA Bobde, SCBA president and senior advocate Vikas Singh narrated how the outgoing CJI had suggested roping in actor Shahrukh Khan in the mediation process of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute.
"Let me give out one secret from when Justice Bobde was part of the Constitution bench hearing the Ayodhya dispute. When the matter was at initial stages, Justice Bobde was of the firm view that it be settled through mediation. It may be recalled that it was his suggestion in open court to refer the matter to mediation. That is when senior advocate Sri Ram Panchu and other people had come to be appointed as a mediators", told Mr Singh.
"But Justice Bobde's commitment to mediation was such that, knowing that I know the family of Shahrukh Khan, he asked me whether Shahrukh Khan would be interested in participating in the mediation process. So I spoke to Shahrukh Khan and he was more than willing. He said that the only way Hindus and Muslims can live peacefully together in the country is through such religious harmony. In fact, it was his suggestion that the foundation for the Hindu temple may be laid down by some prominent Muslim individuals and the foundation of the mosque be laid down by prominent Hindu persons", continued Mr Singh.
"Unfortunately, the mediation did not work out. But Justice Bobde's endeavour towards ensuring that people live peacefully together was salutary", expressed Mr Singh
The Supreme Court had in March, 2019 referred to court-appointed and court-monitored mediation the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in the hope of a "permanent solution".
The five-judge bench constituted a three-member panel to be headed by (retd.) Justice F. M. I. Khalifullah. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sri Ram Panchu were the other members.
Justice Bobde had notably observed on that occasion that "section 89 of the CPC is a mandate of the court", that it was something that the Court was "considering seriously", particularly because the issue was "not adversarial".
"There is No private property involved, only the public right of worship, and yet it is so contentious. Even if there is 1% chance of success, We would like to take it...Do you sincerely think the entire dispute from so many years is about property? We can only decide in respect of the property, but We are considering a possibility of healing relationships", Justice Bobde had told the advocates.
He had remarked that the Court was conscious of the gravity of the dispute and its impact on "body politic". The endeavour is to "heal relations", he said. "It would of course be subject two conditions- firstly, it shall be confidential. No third party, or the media, shall make comments and jeopardise the process. Secondly, it is not a matter of argument. It is an endeavour for a more lasting peace", he had expressed.
Justice Bobde had opined that if a decree can bind all parties in a representative suit, so can the result of a mediation.
After the mediation did not yield results, the case was heard on merits. In November 2019, a 5-judge bench allowed the construction of Ram Mandir at the disputed land and directed the allocation of 5 acres at an alternate plot for the mosque.