Litigants Appear Before SC-Appointed Mediation Panel in Faizabad
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Image used for representational purposes. (Photo: Altered by The Quint)
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Litigants Appear Before SC-Appointed Mediation Panel in Faizabad

Twenty-five litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case along with their counsels appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel on Wednesday, 13 March.

Earlier on 8 March, the Supreme Court referred the politically sensitive land dispute case for mediation by a panel headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla and gave it eight weeks to complete the process.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu are the other members of the panel, said a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Snapshotclose

  • “Mediation proceedings will be confidential,” the CJI said, adding that media will be banned from reporting on it
  • The court added that the mediation will be held on-camera
  • A three-judge bench had in September 2018 refused to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench the issue related to reconsideration of the observation in the SC’s 1994 judgment that a mosque wasn’t integral to Islam
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Litigants Appear Before SC-Appointed Panel in Faizabad

Twenty-five litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case along with their counsels appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel.

The Faizabad administration had issued notices to the 25 litigants on behalf of the panel.

The mediation process will take place at a hall at the Faizabad Avadh University, they said, adding that no one has been allowed to enter the area where the mediation is taking place.

Heavy security arrangements have been made at the university premises, Faizabad District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said.

All India Babri Masjid Action Committee Meeting Called Over Ayodhya Matter

All India Babri Masjid Action Committee Convener Zafaryab Jilani on Tuesday, 12 March, called for a meeting of the Committee in Lucknow to deliberate over the Ayodhya land dispute matter, ANI reported.

Bring Ordinance on Ram Temple Before LS Poll Dates: Togadia

Former VHP leader Praveen Togadia on Friday, 8 March, said before the announcement of Lok Sabha election schedule, that the Narendra Modi government should bring an ordinance to facilitate construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

“The dates of national elections have not been announced yet. Modiji bring an ordinance and start construction of Ram temple. Or, no Ram Temple, no vote to BJP,” he said, as per PTI.

Slamming the Modi government, the Hindutva leader said: "Three ordinances have been promulgated on triple talaq for Muslim women. Why not one for the Mandir?"

Mediation the 'Best' Course: Paswan

Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday, 8 March, welcomed the Supreme Court order for time-bound mediation in the Ram temple case, saying if it leads to the issue's resolution, then this is the "best" course.

"We welcome this decision. If mediation leads to the dispute's resolution, then this is the best way," the BJP ally said in a tweet.

SC Judgment Must Remove Obstacles to Construction: RSS

The RSS on Friday expressed its "full faith" in the Supreme Court but said that its judgment on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute case "must expedite" and remove the "obstacles" in constructing a grand temple.

In a report presented at the annual meeting of the highest policy-making body Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), the RSS said, as per PTI:

“We are experiencing that Hindus are constantly being neglected. While having full respect in the judicial system, we would like to say emphatically that the judgment on the dispute must expedite and remove the obstacles in constructing a grand temple.”

Respect SC Decision to Form Mediation Panel: Cong

The Congress on Friday, 8 March, said it respects the decision of the Supreme Court to refer the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation, and added that it should be final and binding on all parties.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the BJP of politicising the “faith-based issue for political gains for the past 27 years”.

"Since 1992, BJP has kept the issue alive so as to be used in every election for political vote garnering and relegate the Ram Mandir issue to the annals of history post-election – to be revived again in the next election. We sincerely hope that people of India will see through the duplicity and doublespeak of BJP," he said, as per PTI.

Essential to Build Ram Temple at Ayodhya: BJP Leaders

A number of senior BJP leaders made it clear on Friday that building Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya is the only way out of the impasse, soon after the Supreme Court ordered a time-bound mediation to resolve the long-pending issue.

BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said that keeping the dispute pending for long is not in anyone’s interest.

While BJP MP Subramanian Swamy stressed that the construction of Ram temple is non-negotiable. "There is no question of not building a temple where we believe Lord Ram was born," he added, as per PTI.

"Can there be anything other than a mosque in Mecca and Madina?... Do Hindus have not even this much right after partition that we can offer prayers to Lord Ram in Ayodhya?" Union minister Giriraj Singh asked.

AIMPLB Hails SC Decision

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Friday, 8 March, welcomed the Supreme Court referring the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation, saying it would be most befitting that the matter is resolved through negotiations.

"The Supreme Court has given this order and it needs to be welcomed... It would be most befitting that the matter is resolved through dialogue...let's see what happens now," AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rehmani told PTI.

Ayodhya Case 'Very Serious Responsibility': Sriram Panchu

Senior advocate Sriram Panchu, appointed by the Supreme Court in a three-member mediation panel for the Ayodhya case, said that Ayodhya dispute was a ‘serious responsibility’.

"It is a very serious responsibility given to me by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. I will do my best," he said, as per NDTV.

NCP Hails SC's Mediation Order

The Nationalist Congress Party on Friday, 8 March, welcomed the mediation panel appointed by the Supreme Court in Ayodhya's Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case and said resolution of differences by consensus was in national interest.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, in a statement, said, as per PTI: "We welcome the appointment of the three-member mediation panel. If the dispute is resolved, it will be in national interest. The nation is hopeful that the issue would be resolved through consensus."

SC Order on Mediation in Ayodhya Dispute Case:

Who Are the 3 Members of the Mediation Panel?

The apex court appointed Justice Fakir Muhammad Ibrahim Kalifulla as the head of the three-member mediation committee, with Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu as the other two members.

Click here to read more about the three mediators

'Historic Opportunity for Indians: Salman Khurshid

"Supreme Court has opened historic opportunity for us Indians to reaffirm the path of togetherness and harmony,” Congress’ Salman Khurshid tweeted on Friday, 8 February.

“Mediation in Ayodhya matter can show the path to the shared destiny of Hindus and Muslims. No winner-loser syndrome only winners: Indians and India," he said.

SC's Mediation Order an 'Honest Effort': Mayawati

Reacting to the Supreme Court's order to constitute a panel for mediating the Ayodhya matter, BSP supremo Mayawati said that it “seems (to be) an honest effort."

“Hon'ble Court looking for ‘a possibility of healing relationships’ is an appreciable move. BSP welcomes it,” she tweeted.

Mediation the Only Way: Sri Sri

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of the mediators appointed by the Supreme Court to end the long-standing land dispute in Ayodhya, said that mediation was the only way.

Speaking to ANI, he said: “I just heard of this news, I think this will be good for the country, mediation is the only way.”

“Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society – we must all move together towards these goals,” he had tweeted earlier in the day.

KEY EVENT

SC Should've Appointed a Neutral Person: Owaisi

AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi reacted sharply to the SC order, which named spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a mediator in the Ayodhya case.

He said, as per ANI: “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has been appointed as a mediator, had earlier made a statement (that) 'if Muslims don't give up their claim on Ayodhya, India will become Syria’... It would've been better if SC had appointed a neutral person.”

"We hope he will remain neutral," Owaisi added.

KEY EVENT

Temple Should be Made Where Lord Ram Was Born: Uma Bharti

Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti, on Friday, 8 March, refused to comment directly on the SC’s order on Ayodhya but said that a temple should be built on the disputed land.

“I don't want to comment on the Supreme Court order. I don't want to comment on the mediators named by the court. But as a Hindu, I think a temple should be made where Lord Ram was born,” she said, reported ANI.

KEY EVENT

What is Mediation? How Will it Work?

The Supreme Court has referred Ayodhya's Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case to mediation for “permanent solution”, but what does that entail? How will the process work?

The Quint’s Vakasha Sachdev explains:

KEY EVENT

Will Take Every Effort to Resolve Ayodhya Issue Amicably: Justice Kalifulla

Justice (Retd )FM Ibrahim Kalifullah, who will head the mediation panel in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, told ANI on Friday, 8 March:

“I understand SC has appointed a mediation committee headed by me. I’m yet to received the order copy. I can say if committee has been constituted, we’ll take every effort to resolve the issue amicably.”

Will Cooperate With Mediation: Babri Masjid Action Committee

AIMPLB member and convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee Zafaryab Jilani said that he will cooperate with the mediation process.

“We have already said that we will cooperate in the mediation. Now, whatever we have to say, we will say it to the mediation panel and not outside,” said Jilani.

No Devotee of Lord Ram Wants Delay in Construction of Mandir: KP Maurya

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya said that he will not question the SC order. However, he added that no devotee of Lord Ram will want delay in the construction of Ram Mandir.

“Won't question the SC order. In the past, efforts made to arrive at a solution – but with no success. No Lord Ram devotee or saint wants delay in construction of the mandir,” said KP Maurya.

Mediators Can Seek Legal Assistance: SC

The order also said that the mediators can co-opt more on the panel if necessary and that the Uttar Pradesh government to provide mediators all the facilities in Faizabad.

“Mediators can seek further legal assistance as and when required,” the order said.

Panel to Complete Mediation in 8 Weeks, Says SC

The mediators have been asked to give an interim report within four weeks and complete the process within eight weeks, the SC order added.

No Reporting on Mediation, Orders Court

The Supreme Court in its order also said that the reporting of the mediation proceedings in media will be banned, and that mediation proceedings should be held on-camera.

The mediation process will be held in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad and will start in four weeks.

SC Nod for Mediation, Appoints 3-Member Panel

The Supreme Court Constitution Bench on Friday, 8 March, referred Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for a monitored mediation for a “permanent solution”. The apex court appointed Justice FMI Kalfullah, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and senior advocate Sriram Panchu as mediators.

SC to Pronounce Order on Court-Appointed Mediation Tomorrow

The Supreme Court on Friday, 8 March, will pronounce its order on whether to send the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for court-appointed and monitored mediation for a “permanent solution”.

Will Pass Order on Constitution Bench for Writ Petitions, Says SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 6 March, said that it would pass an order on whether the Constitution Bench will continue to hear the writ petitions in connection with the case.

This does not directly apply to the Ayodhya title dispute case.

Mediation Cannot Happen, There Will Be No Compromise: Hindu Mahasabha

Hindu Mahasabha advocate Vishnu Jain told the media that the outfit is against mediation as there an be no compromise on Lord Ram’s land.

CJI Asks All Parties To Submit Names of Possible Mediators Today

CJI Gogoi asks all parties to submit to the court the names of possible mediators, as the judges intend to announce their decision shortly.

SC Reserves Order

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 6 March. reserved its order on whether to refer Ayodhya land dispute case to court-appointed mediator.

Mediation Bound by Certain Parameters: Subramanian Swamy

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy argues mediation is bound by certain parameters.

Media Won't Cover Mediation Proceedings: SC

The Bench has clarified that media will not get to cover the mediation proceedings.

Muslim Groups Express Willingness for Mediation

Muslim parties show willingness for mediation. Rajeev Dhavan, representing Sunni Waqf Board, says consent of all parties not required to go mediation.

Advocate Rajeev Dhavan,who is appearing for group of Muslim petitioners in the case says, "Muslim petitioners are agreeable to mediation&any compromise or settlement will bind parties."

'The Past Cannot be Undone:' Justice Bobde

Justice SA Bobde points out that this is pre-judging the outcome, rather than looking at the possibilities for healing and reconciliation.

According to Live Law, Bobde said that what’s done in the past cannot be undone. "We can only decide what happens in the present," he said.

Hindu Groups Oppose Mediation

Hindu parties are opposing the suggestion to mediate, saying the matter is not simply a property dispute. As a result, public may not be satisfied with the result.

SC Commences Hearing on Ayodhya Case

CJI Ranjan Gogoi clarifies that the hearing will be restricted to the limited point of whether or not the case should be referred to mediation.

SC to Decide on Court-Appointed Mediator Today

The Supreme Court is likely to pass an order on whether to refer Ayodhya land dispute case to court-appointed mediator on Tuesday, 5 March.

KEY EVENT

SC Order: Parties Have Six Weeks to Finalise Documents

Subramaniam Swamy tries to intervene, and when allowed to speak, says that any compromise between the parties will have to include a right for Hindus to pray at the birthplace of Lord Ram.

CJI Gogoi notes that the proceedings can only begin after translated documents are in place over which there is no controversy. He then begins dictating his order, in which he gives the parties six weeks to examine the translations and submit any objections.

The Chief Justice also asks the parties if they will consider mediation, but because Vaidyanathan doesn’t agree, this is not included in the order. The decision to refer the case for mediation will be taken at the next hearing.

Justice Bobde Suggests Mediation Rather Than Court Case

“Even if there is one percent chance for mediation between parties, we should give it an opportunity,” says Justice SA Bobde.

Dhavan points out that mediation was tried by the Allahabad High Court, but this wasn’t successful.

Justice Bobde responds that this has not been tried in the Supreme Court yet, and that the court is thinking of using mediation under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure to settle the dispute between the Hindu and Muslim parties.

Rajeev Dhavan says he won’t oppose this if the judges want to try it. However, CS Vaidyanathan and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar (also appearing for one of the Hindu parties) say they don’t agree with this option.

“Mediation is not possible, not agreeable. Your Lordships may decide the matter as early as possible”, says Ranjit Kumar, according to Bar & Bench.

8-12 Weeks Requested to Review Documents

The CJI then asks Dhavan how long he needs to review the documents. Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, also representing one of the Muslim parties, say they need “8-12 weeks”.

Dispute Over Translations Could Delay Hearing

At the outset, CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked the parties if they have all had a chance to review the official translations of documents for the case. There are several thousand pages of documents which are relevant to the case, and the Chief Justice said they did not want the parties to object to the correctness of the documents later, which would delay the hearings.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for some of the Muslim parties, argues that they had not had a chance to review all the translations. Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, objects to this, noting that there has been enough time to review the documents. He also draws attention to the court’s order of December 2017, when the court expressed hope the parties wouldn’t ask for adjournments.

Rajeev Dhavan responds by saying there had been no opportunity to review the documents since the previous hearings had dealt with the question of whether the matter should be referred to a larger bench.

CJI Gogoi: “We are not going to waste our time if disputes are going to be raised over translations of documents.”

SC Begins Hearing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Land Dispute Case

The Supreme Court has begun hearing the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute matter, with the five-judge Constitution bench expected to decide on the date when the hearings will start and come up with a schedule.

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