The Ayodhya mediation committee that has been tasked with working out an out-of-the Court settlement submitted the status report to the Supreme Court on Thursday (July 18). The panel also has been given more time -until July 31- to continue with its efforts at mediating the dispute.
The top court has ruled that the report submitted by the panel would remain confidential and that it would begin to hear the case from August 2 based on the contents of the report.
“However, taking into account what has been brought to our notice by the said report, we now fix hearing of the case, if required on and from August 2,” the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said.
Chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, the committee filed an initial report on the progress made so far regarding talks with parties contesting Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land and sought more time to complete its work.
The main litigants of the dispute, felt that more time should be given to the mediation panel so that views of all stakeholders can be considered.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had on July 11 sought a report on the issue and said that a day-to-day hearing may commence from July 25 if the court decides to conclude the mediation proceedings.
It passed the order while hearing an application filed by a legal heir of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and conclusion of the mediation process, alleging that nothing much was happening there. It had said that the court would pass appropriate orders on July 18 after perusing the report filed by the mediation committee.
The panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, was earlier granted time till August 15 by the apex court for completion of mediation after its earlier report had said that the mediators were “optimistic” about an amicable solution.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.
(With inputs from agencies)