SC to hear Ayodhya dispute after mediators submit report

The Supreme Court on Friday will conduct the hearing on the issues related to the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, a notification said.

The court authorities published a notice on the apex court’s website detailing on the composition of the bench that will hear the matter, and mentioned that the matter will be taken up at 10.30 a.m.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, will hear the matter for the first time since the last hearing on March 8.

In the previous hearing, the top court had referred the politically sensitive case, which has greater societal ramifications, pending for many decades for mediation, and constituted a panel for the same purpose.

Former Supreme Court judge F.M. Kalifulla, is the head of the panel and he has been tasked by the court to hold consultation to explore a potential avenue through which an amicable settlement between the parties could finally arrive.

The other two members of the panel are Sri Sri Ravishankar, renowned spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation; and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, who is a well known mediator in the legal circles. The panel was constituted after the court noted “the lack of consensus between the parties in the matter”.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the panel to conduct in-camera proceedings and the complete the mediation within eight weeks.

The court had recommended this on February 26, when it took up appeals regarding the dispute. The court said it could only decide on a property and what it was looking at was “a possibility of healing relationships”.

During the hearing, the court had stressed to maintain confidentiality of the proceedings conduct, as it will protect the on-going dialogue to be shielded from unwarranted controversies and also unsolicited comments.

Muslim petitioners have welcomed the Court’s decision on mediation, but Hindu bodies, except for the Nirmohi Akhara and the Uttar Pradesh government, were not in favour.

The apex court is hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court. The verdict ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres site between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh and the deity Ramlalla Virajman.