SC okay for day-to-day hearing if mediation fails in Ayodhya case; seeks interim report  

Hearing a petition filed by a Hindu group that called upon the apex court ending the mediation, the Supreme Court Bench said if the efforts for amicable settlement fails day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya dispute will resume.

The SC Bench was hearing a plea filed by Gopal Singh Visharad who requested the Bench to list the dispute for adjudication, as there was no progress in the mediation process

The Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose heard the plea of Gopal Singh Visharad who requested the Bench to list the dispute for adjudication, as there was no progress in the mediation process.

The Bench called for a report from the panel on the progress of the mediation. “If there is no progress, then day-to-day hearing can begin from July 25,” the Bench said. The other members of the Bench included Justice SA Bobde, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

Senior advocate PS Narasimha represented Visharad. The counsels representing the Hindu parties argued that the dispute had been pending for 69 years and the nature of mediation did not inspire confidence. “Eleven joint sessions have been held, but it seems inconclusive… Difficult to sort out through mediation,” contended the counsel.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing one of the Muslim litigants, said the application was an attempt to scrap the mediation process and the counsels of Hindu parties were not fair in criticizing the methodology of the committee set up to resolve the Ayodhya row.

The counsels representing the Hindu parties argued that the dispute had been pending for 69 years and the nature of mediation did not inspire confidence

Counsel Narasimha argued that there has not been much progress in the first round of mediation process. The court allowed him to file the application and said it will see to his plea for listing.

On May 10, the Supreme Court extended the term of the mediation committee till August 15. The court said the members of the committee were not experiencing any difficulty in the mediation process. It observed that the Chairman of the committee, former Supreme Court judge F.M.I. Kalifulla, had indicated progress in mediation and sought extension of time to complete the task.

Senior counsel Dhavan said that his clients have no objection to the mediation process taking time. Iqbal Ansari, the son of Muslim litigant Hashim Ansari in the Ayodhya case, said: “This matter is very old and the issue cannot be resolved in two months.”

The Kalifulla panel has Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Shriram Panchu as its other members.

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