The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment which partitioned the disputed Ayodhya land equally among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. On 8 March the court ordered the parties to attempt resolving the dispute via mediation. A three member mediation panel comprising retired Justice FM Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu was set up. It was given time until 15 August, 2019 to conduct mediation proceedings.
On 9 July, an interlocutory application was filed seeking the conclusion of the mediation panel’s proceedings and the listing of the appeal for final hearing. Today, the court heard this application.
K Parasaran, on behalf of the applicant Gopal Singh Visharad, contended that mediation had not led to a solution despite over 11 sessions taking place. He argued that the issue was too complex to be settled by mediation. Further, he contended that mediation was only one of the remedies, which could be pursued in parallel to hearings. He stated that if a settlement is achieved through mediation, it could be brought to court.
Sushil Kumar Jain, on behalf of the Hindu respondents, stated that they were worshippers, not title claimers.
Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board, contended that the mediation committee could not be criticised until they are required to appear before the court. He argued that concluding the mediation proceedings would effectively recall the court’s earlier order extending the mediation period until 15 August, merely because one party appeared to be fed up with the mediation process.
The court directed the mediation committee to submit a progress report by 18 July.
On 18 July, the court will decide whether the mediation proceedings should be concluded and the hearing of appeals should subsequently begin on 25 July.