Ayodhya case: Supreme Court asks mediation panel to submit report by July 31, next hearing on August 2

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the mediation committee it had set up on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute to continue its efforts to resolve the three-decades-old case through mutual agreement till July 31. The court, at an earlier hearing on July 10 seeking early hearing in the case, had asked the panel to submit its report by July 18. The court had said that it would initiate daily hearing in the case from July 25 if the panel failed to submit a conclusive report in the case. The initial deadline for submission of report by the panel was August 15, which has now been shifted ahead by 15 days. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said that after perusing the report filed by the mediation panel, it will take a call on August 2 on whether hearing is required in the case. We request the mediation committee to inform the outcome of the proceedings as of July 31st, CJI Gogoi said. However, taking into account what has been brought to our notice by the said report, we now fix hearing of the case, if required on and from August 2, the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said. The committee headed by Justice FMI Kalifulla submitted its report on the progress of the mediation to the top court. The panel includes Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar and mediation expert Sriram Panchu. The bench headed by CJI Rajan Gogoi accepted the report and granted time till July 31 to the panel. The court directed the committee to submit its report by July 31 on the progress made during the meditation and fixed August 2 as the next date of hearing. The court said that it will not put on record contents of the mediation report since it was to remain confidential. The bench also took into record an application filed by one of the parties pointing to discrepancies in the translated copies of the records related to the case. On July 1, the court had sought a report on the mediation process and said that a day-to-day hearing might commence from July 25 if the court decides to conclude the mediation proceedings. It had requested the panel to apprise it by July 18 of the progress of mediation till date and its present stage. It had passed the order while hearing an application filed by a legal heir of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and conclusion of the mediation process, alleging that not much was happening there. A total of 14 appeals have been filed in the Supreme 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. The Babri Masjid, which was constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi. was demolished on December 6, 1992. It is believed that Lord Ram was born at the same place in Treta Yug.