Ayodhya Case: Mediation Panel Submits Report to SC in Sealed Cover
However, as the SC reserved its judgment, no such application for withdrawal was made in the court on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel to resolve the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya is believed to have filed a report in the apex court on Wednesday, 16 October, in a sealed cover which sources said is a "sort of a settlement" between the Hindu and the Muslim parties.
Sources close to the mediation panel said the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirvani Akhada, Nirmohi Akhada, Ram Janmabhoomi Punruddhar Samiti and some other Hindu parties are in favour of settling the contentious land dispute.
The panel is headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla and also comprises spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.
Row Over Waqf Board Chairman ‘Seeking Withdrawal’
With the hearing in the Ayodhya land dispute case finally drawing to a close after 40 days of arguments on 16 October, dramatic reports emerged on the morning of the final day of arguments that the Sunni Waqf Board was willing to withdraw their claim to title over the land.
The other Muslim petitioners opposed this move – which turned out to be more smoke than fire in any case.
Before the hearing commenced in the case, reports suggested that the Sunni Waqf Board, the original Muslim petitioner in the case and one of the key parties in the dispute, would withdraw its claim. However, The Quint learnt that it was only Zafar Ahmed Farooqui, the chairperson of the board, who had initiated that process.
As the Constitution Bench of the apex court reserved its judgment in the Ayodhya case, no such application for withdrawal was presented to the judges on the final day of arguments.
The judgment in the high-profile case is expected to be out before 17 November, which is when Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires.
It had also been reported earlier that senior advocate Sriram Panchu, who was one of the SC-appointed mediators in the case, had filed the application for withdrawal on Farooqui's behalf two days ago, after Farooqui informed the mediation committee that he wanted to withdraw the case.
This application was reportedly made to the administrative side of the apex court. However, no mention was made of the application and there was no word on whether it had even been accepted.
Sunni Waqf Board and Muslim Parties Deny Rumours
The moment the rumours started swirling, the Quint spoke to the office of Rajiv Dhawan – who is representing the Sunni Waqf Board – and was told that he had no instructions from the Waqf Board to withdraw the case. In fact, Dhawan went on to present final arguments for the Sunni Waqf Board in the court on Wednesday.
The Quint also accessed a statement from Advocate MR Shamshad, representing another key Muslim litigant in the case Iqbal Ansari, which stated that the board has not made any such statement, adding, however, that the “action of the Chairman UP Sunni Central Waqf Board in last two months has undergone a sea change”.
Their statement goes on to assert, “...this case is contested by six other Muslim parties in which Sunni Board is one party and it has no more locus than any other individual Muslim parties”.
Later in the day, Zafaryab Jilani, another advocate for the Sunni Waqf Board, also confirmed that no application was filed by the Board to withdraw the case.
Farooqui in Trouble?
On Wednesday, reports emerged suggesting that based on three FIRs alleging "illegal sale, purchase of land", the Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a CBI inquiry against Farooqui.
Farooqui has meanwhile been given security on orders of the court, reports said.
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