If mediation fails, Supreme Court to hear Ayodhya case from July 25
A five-judge constitution bench asks the three-member mediation panel to submit the report by July 18
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a progress report, within a week, on the ongoing mediation proceedings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.
If the issue was not resolved amicably, the apex court would begin hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis from 25 July, it said.
Gogoi, requested former apex court judge Justice (Retd) F M I Kalifulla, chairperson of the three-member mediation panel, to submit the report by July 18.
The order was passed on a plea filed by the legal heirs of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and annulment of the ongoing mediation process, alleging that nothing much was happening there. The petitioner also sought an early hearing of the case, which was supposed to be heard on August 15.
During the arguments, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, supported the plea, saying they had opposed the reference of the matter to a mediation panel earlier as well.
Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, opposed the plea for annulment of the mediation process and said "Is this plea to scare us? This plea needs to be rejected right away.
We have strong objections to the manner in which this application has been drafted. This is not the time to criticize mediation committee."
However, the bench told Dhavan since the apex court has constituted the mediation panel, it was entitled to get the latest status report from the committee. Appearing for the applicant, senior advocate K S Parasaran had said at the outset, it was probably very difficult to settle a dispute of this nature through mediation.
Dhavan said stopping the mediation midway would be akin to a recall of the May 10 order by which the apex court had given the committee time till 15 August to conclude the process.