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Ayodhya: SC for amicable settlement

Ayodhya: SC for amicable settlement
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Highlights

The Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested a negotiated settlement to the Ram Janmabhomi-Babri Masjid dispute, with the Chief Justice of India even offering to act as a mediator between the two sides laying claim over the historic site in Ayodhya.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested a negotiated settlement to the Ram Janmabhomi-Babri Masjid dispute, with the Chief Justice of India even offering to act as a mediator between the two sides laying claim over the historic site in Ayodhya.

The court’s observation came in response to a plea by BJP lawmaker Subramanian Swamy for an early hearing of a civil dispute over the site where Hindu groups say Lord Ram was born.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar told Swamy that sensitive issues are best settled through negotiations. “If the parties want me to sit between mediators chosen by both sides for negotiations, I am ready,” he said, adding that if required the court can also choose a principal negotiator for finding a solution. The bench asked Swamy to mention his plea again on March 31.

Calling Ayodhya a sensitive matter, Swamy had urged the Supreme Court to constitute a bench to hear a batch of petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order. The 2010 order said that there should be a partition of the Ayodhya land between the parties to the dispute.

Justice Khehar told Swamy: "Any person of your choice. You want me to mediate (but) I will not hear (on judicial side). You want my brother (Judge). There are issues. You all sit together across the table and decide." Pointing towards Justice Kaul, the Chief Justice said that he too could mediate.

Swamy later told the media that the Babri Masjid can be shifted anywhere else near the Saryu river.

RSS, BJP welcome SC ruling
The BJP and RSS welcomed the Supreme Court ruling, saying negotiations were the best way to resolve it. Reacting to the apex court ruling, which called for an ''amicable'' settlement of the highly-vexed issue, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, ''Supreme Court has said that Ayodhya dispute is a serious and sensitive issue and has asked for amicable solution. We welcome the decision.''

BJP's firebrand leader Vinay Katiyar too welcomed the apex court ruling, saying, ''We have government in UP and the Centre. We all will find the solution after conversation.'' However, the Wakf Board rejected the apex court suggestion for out-of-court settlement, stating that the case has been in the court for long.

"An amicable solution is impossible. This has to be dealt in the court itself. After all, it is long pending in the court," Zafaryab Jilani, Convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), said. Babri Masjid, a medieval mosque built in the 16th century, was demolished by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992.

A number of senior BJP leaders, including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar are the accused in the case.

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