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Ayodhya case: Daily hearing from July 25 if mediation fails, SC seeks progress report from panel

FE Online
sc, supreme court

Ayodhya Ram Mandir case: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will begin day-to-day hearings in the decades-old Ayodhya-Babri masjid title dispute from July 25, if the mediation process initiated by the top court is over or has failed. The three-member panel has been asked to submit a progress report by July 18. The top court also said that it also needs to wait for the report by the mediation panel.

"We have set up a mediation panel. We will have to wait for a report. Let the mediators submit a report on this," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer, said. The court was hearing an appeal by Rajendra Singh, son of Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the plaintiffs in the original civil suit in the Ayodhya land. According to Singh, there has not been “much progress” in the mediation process ordered by the apex court. The petitioner has also urged the court to declare that it has been “concluded”.

Visharad, a resident of Ayodhya, moved a court in Faizabad, in 1950, claiming his right to worship was prevented by the state government, which did not allow him to go near the idol. He had called for an order against the removal of idols., who said that the mediation proceedings, ordered to find an amicable solution, were leading nowhere and urged the top court to declare the process as concluded. The appeal also urged the top court to begin hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010 verdict of Allahabad High Court in the case.

Appearing on behalf of the applicant, K Parasaran,senior lawyer for applicant, sought a date for early hearing in the case, saying, "since mediation is unlikely to bring any positive results, so the court should give a date for a hearing in the case"

Singh’s application said, “Despite initial reluctance in the process of mediation, the applicant herein wholeheartedly participated in the mediation proceedings conducted by three eminent persons appointed by the court. However, in three meetings participated during five months, neither any concrete proposal has come from anyone nor any headway is likely to be made in the process of mediation.” He said he was not called for mediation proceedings that took place in June 2019.

In its verdict, the Allahabad High Court said that 2.7-acre disputed land at Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site is divided equally between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board. While considering an appeal against this ruling on March 8, the Supreme Court Constitution Bench had ordered mediation to find a solution on the matter. The court had also appointed retired Supreme Court judge F M Ibrahim Kalifulla to lead the panel.