Ayodhya Land Dispute: 10 Highlights From the Supreme Court Hearing

The SC has asked all the parties to suggest name of a mediator or a panel of mediators, if it orders mediation.

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India
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The Supreme Court reserved the order in the Ayodhya land dispute case on Wednesday, 6 March.
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On Wednesday, 6 March, the Supreme Court reserved the order and said that it will pass the orders on whether to refer the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation.

A five-Judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which reserved verdict on referring the matter for mediation, said that it is conscious of the impact of the issue on "public sentiment" and on "body politic".

"Arguments on the issue of reference to mediation are closed. Arguments concluded. Orders reserved," said the bench, also comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

HERE ARE THE 10 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HEARING:

  • While reserving the order, the court had said that the parties involved in the case may suggest names of mediators for consideration if it orders mediation on the dispute.
  • Two faction of Hindu Mahasabha took opposite stand on the issue of mediation with one body supporting it, the other opposing it. Both faction suggested some names for mediators.
  • While the Hindu bodies except Nirmohi Akhara opposed the suggestion of the court, the Muslim bodies supported it. A counsel appearing for a Hindu body said that the issue should not be referred for mediation as it would fail and public would not agree.
  • The court also said, “You are saying it will be a failure. We are not assuming that somebody will give it up. Primarily, we think this issue is not a property dispute. It is not about the 1500 sq ft but it is about the religious sentiments and faith. We are conscious about the gravity of the issue and we are also conscious about its impact on body politic of the country. We understand how it goes and are looking at minds, hearts and healing if possible.”
  • Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the legal heirs of original litigant M Siddiq, said court can order mediation by an mediator, when parties are unable to settle it. To this, the bench said that there may not be one mediator but a panel of mediators to deal with the issue.
  • Advocate Rajeev Dhavan said no parties should be allowed to disclose the proceedings till the final report is filed. The bench agreed and said it thinks there has to be complete ban on media reporting on the developments of mediation process.
  • Justice Chandrachud said that considering it is a dispute involving two communities, it would be very difficult to bind millions of people by way of mediation. He added it is desirable that dispute is resolved through peaceful talks.
  • BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told the bench that the government has the right to give away land to whosoever it wants after paying compensation to the others.
  • Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for Hindu deity Ram Lala Virajman said the faith that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya is not negotiable but the question is of Ram Janamsthan (birth place).
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said the court should refer the matter for mediation only when there exists an element of settlement.
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