The Supreme Court on Thursday asked mediation panel to submit an interim report regarding progress in the ongoing mediation proceedings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya on July 18. The CJI-led panel said that it will start day to day hearing from July 25 in case matter cannot be resolved by mediation.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, requested former apex court judge Justice (Retd) FMI Kalifulla, chairperson of the three-member mediation panel, to submit the report by July 18 and said the court would pass further orders on the same date.
The bench said after perusing the latest status report, if it felt that the mediation process ought not to be concluded, the main Ayodhya dispute case would be heard by the apex court on a day-to-day basis from July 25.
The petition was moved on Tuesday to list the dispute for adjudication saying there has been no progress in the mediation process.
The litigant said that nothing much has been happening in the case which was referred to a three-member panel of mediators, headed by former apex court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla, to explore an amicable solution.
The bench headed by the CJI had in May extended till August 15 the time for the panel of mediators for completing mediation proceedings, saying that the panel had submitted that it was "optimistic" about an amicable solution.
"If the mediators are optimistic about the result and are seeking time till August 15, what is the harm in granting time? This issue has been pending for years and years. Why should we not grant time," the bench had told the counsel appearing for the parties concerned.
The apex court had on March 8 referred the matter to the panel of mediators for exploring possibility of an amicable settlement and appointed Justice (retd) Kalifulla, spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu as members of the mediation committee.
In its March 8 order, the top court had asked the panel of mediators to hold in-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks.
The top court had fixed the seat for mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around seven km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements including the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security, travel should be forthwith arranged by the state government so that proceedings could commence immediately.
The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they oppose the court's suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies had supported the proposal.
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.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.
With PTI Inputs