New Delhi: Hearings have begun at the Supreme Court to determine if an out-of-court settlement is possible in the matter of the Ayodhya Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid title suit. On 23 September the apex court had deferred delivery of a judgement in the matter, which was due to be pronounced by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on 24 September.
At the time of this report, the petitioner's counsel has finished his arguments which have extended for an inordinately long period of over an hour. Apparently he has been asked by the court to explain why he has woken up at the last minute to affect an out-of-court settlement.
The counsel for te Sunni Wasqf Board mnay aklso have concludes his arguments
The row over ownership of 2.77 acres of land in the pilgrimage town of Ayodhya has persisted for well over a hundred years, certainly for well over 60 years of independent India's existence. Just one of the original petitioners to the title suit now survives.
The issue was the cause of a mass movement launched by a political party to build a temple on the disputed land. The movement ultimately resulted in the destruction of a mosque, the Babri Masjid, that stood there. The destruction resulted in widespread rioting across the length and breadth of the country.
Repeated attempts to settle the matter out-of-court have failed over the decades. Indeed, in the present petition before the apex court, the major parties to the dispute – the Sunni Waqf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha – have stated clearly that they see no possibility of any reconciliation in the matter.