AYODHYA Dispute: SC Grants Deadline till August 15 to the Mediators For Exploring Amicable Solution

INDIA’S  Supreme Court on Friday extended  the deadline till August 15  for the three-member  panel  of mediators  assigned  to find an amicable  settlement  to the vexed  Ayodhya issue. The panel  headed by former apex court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla  had prayed for extension  of time .A five-judge constitution bench chaired by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said they had received the report from Justice Kalifulla in which the panel had sought extension of time till August 15 to complete mediation proceedings.“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 also comprises  Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, reports  ANI.The counsel appearing for both the Hindu and Muslim parties expressed confidence over the ongoing mediation proceedings and said they are fully cooperating with the process.“We have perused and considered the report of May 7 of Justice FMI Kalifulla indicating the progress made in the mediation proceeding.”“Chairman of the mediation committee has sought extension of time till August 15 to enable the committee to find an amicable solution. We are inclined to grant time till August 15,” the Bench said.One of the advocates appearing in the matter said the apex court had earlier given eight weeks’ time to the panel of mediators and now nine weeks had gone by.“We had given eight weeks and the report has come. We are not inclined to tell you what is there in the report of the committee,” the bench said. One of the counsel told the bench that there are around 13,990 pages of documents in vernacular languages and said some wrong translations had been made which would be a problem.“Objections, if any, on the translation may be placed on record by written note by June 30,” the bench said, adding, “Nobody will come in the way of mediation.”The top court had fixed the seat for mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around 7 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. It had also directed that the mediation proceedings be held in-camera as per norms applicable to conduct mediation proceedings. 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.

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