A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will today pronounce whether to send the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for court-appointed and monitored mediation for a 'permanent solution'.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led five-judge Constitution Bench on Wednesday had reserved the order after hearing various contesting parties. Hindu bodies, except Nirmohi Akhara, have opposed the suggestion of the top court to refer the issue for mediation, while Muslim bodies have supported it.
The bench also includes Justice SA Bobde, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
"Arguments on the issue of reference to mediation are closed. Arguments concluded. Orders reserved," the court said on Wednesday.
"It is about mind, hear and healing the relationship. We have read history and know history. We have no control over what had happened in the past... Babar invading, whether there was a mosque or temple. We are only concerned with resolving the dispute," Justice Bobde had said.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the legal heirs of original litigant M Siddiq, had said that outlining of the dispute is not necessary and court can order mediation by an mediator, when parties are unable to settle it.
To this, the bench said that there may not be one mediator but a panel of mediators to deal with the issue. Dhavan said that mediation in the peculiar facts of the case can be ordered in-camera and no parties should be allowed to disclose the proceedings till the final report is filed.
The bench agreed with the contention of Dhavan that confidentiality of proceedings should be maintained and said it thinks there has to be complete ban on media reporting on the developments of mediation process.
"It is not something like gag order but there should be no reporting. It is easy to attribute something to somebody when the mediation process is on," the bench said.
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud said that considering it is not just a property dispute between the parties but a dispute involving two communities, it would be very difficult to bind millions of people by way of mediation.
"Adjudication of a dispute is legally binding but how can we bind millions of people by way of mediation. It won't be that simple," Justice Chandrachud said, adding, it is desirable that dispute is resolved through peaceful talks.
Two faction of Hindu Mahasabha took opposite stand on the issue of mediation with one body supporting it, the other opposing it.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told the bench that the government has the right to give away land to whosoever it wants after paying compensation to the others.