SC leaves decision on Ayodhya dispute to FMI Kalifulla-led panel
08 March 2019
The Supreme Court, after years of hearing, today left a decision on the Ayodhya land title case to a three-member mediation panel headed by retired Justice FM Ibrahim Kaifulla with spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Pachu as the other two members.
The mediation panel has been asked to submit its report within eight weeks. In its order, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that the panel should submit its progress report within the first four weeks.
The other judges on the five-judge constitution bench included justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer.
The matter pertains to the title of the disputed 2.77-acre plot, which the Allahabad High Court had divided into three equal parts to be awarded among the three parties - Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla Virajman and Sunni Waqf Board.
While the Hindu parties, except Nirmohi Akhara, opposed the idea of mediation, the Muslim parties have welcomed the decision.
The panel has been given powers to co-opt more members on the panel if necessary. Uttar Pradesh government has been directed to provide mediators all the facilities in Faizabad. Mediators can seek further legal assistance as and when required
CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that the proceedings of the "court-monitored mediation will be confidential." The SC also banned the reporting of mediation proceedings in media
Commenting on his appointment as the head of the panel, Justice (Retd) FM Ibrahim Kalifullah said, "I understand SC has appointed a mediation committee headed by me. I'm yet to received order copy. I can say if the committee has been constituted we'll take every effort to resolve the issue amicably."
"I just heard of this news, I think this will be good for the country, mediation is the only way," said Sri Sri Ravishankar.