The Supreme Court on Friday ordered mediation in the Ram Mandir case on Friday. The top court has appointed a panel of mediators in the case. The verdict was given by a five-judge Constitution Bench. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
They Supreme Court-appointed panel will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice FM Kalifulla. Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and lawyer Shriram Panchu are other two members. The mediation will remain confidential, the top court said. The deliberations will conclude within eight weeks and first status report will be submitted in four weeks. Mediation process will be held in Faizabad. The Supreme Court in its order also said that the media will be banned from reporting of the mediation proceedings.The Supreme Court has granted liberty to mediators to co-opt other members in the panel.
On Wednesday, all Hindu bodies except Nirmohi Akhara had opposed the suggestion of the apex court to refer the issue for mediation, while Muslim bodies backed it. However, after the order, Hindu Mahasabha chief Swami Chakrapani said that, “ whatever happens, it will be good.”
In last hearing, Justice Chandrachud had said that considering it is not just a property dispute between the parties but a dispute involving two communities, it would be very difficult to bind millions of people by way of mediation. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had told the bench that the government has the right to give away land to whosoever it wants after paying compensation to the others. "P V Narsimha Rao government had in 1994 made commitment to apex court that if ever any evidence was found that there was a temple, land will be given for temple construction," Swamy had submitted.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for Hindu deity Ram Lala Virajman had said the faith that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhaya is not negotiable but the question is of Rama Janamsthan (birth place). "We are even willing to crowd-fund a mosque somewhere else but no negotiations can take place with respect of Lord Rama's birthplace. Mediation won't serve any purpose," he said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, had said the court should refer the matter for mediation only when there exists an element of settlement.
(With agency inputs)