Wednesday (September 18): “Parties to the Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute case can amicably resolve the matter through mediation if they want to,” Supreme Court says today.
The bench comprising of five judges also told lawyers from both sides that it wanted to conclude the day-to-day hearings in the case by October 18 so that judges get almost four weeks time to write the judgment.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it has received a letter from former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, who was heading the three-member mediation panel, saying some parties have written to him for resumption of the mediation process.
“There is an ancillary issue. We have received a letter that some parties want to settle the matter by way of mediation,” the bench said, adding they may do so and proceedings before the mediation panel can remain confidential.
The bench said the day-to-day proceedings in the land dispute case have reached “an advanced stage” and will continue. The court, however, said the mediation process under the chairmanship of Justice Kalifulla can still continue and proceedings before it will remain confidential.
The observation assumes significance due to the fact that CJI Gogoi is set to demit office on November 17.
The apex court on August 6 had commenced day-to-day proceedings in the sensitive land dispute case as mediation proceedings initiated to find the amicable resolution had failed.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished. 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.