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.
In his plea, the BJP leader said numerous attempts for a negotiated settlement had failed and a judicial intervention was required. He added that all the pleadings were complete and case should be listed for a final disposal.
Swamy wants an early hearing of the dispute because his plea to build a Ram temple at the disputed site has been tagged with the case.
A Hindu mob demolished the historic Babri Masjid on December 2, 1992 at Ayodhya. Muslims groups are opposed to building a temple at the site.
In September 2010, a three-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court said that Lord Ram was born under the central dome of the makeshift temple and Hindus have the right to worship there.
Subsequently, the SC stayed the implementation of the HC decision. The case is pending since then.
Right-wing groups including the BJP have been pushing for building a temple at the site.
Last week, a hardline Hindu leader Aditya Nath – a vocal proponent of the temple – was sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, raising hopes among temple supporters that the process for builidng a shrine would be put on fast track.
The BJP, which won a brute majority in the state in the just-held assembly polls, had listed the temple among its promises in its election manifesto.