Ayodhya mediation panel submits report to SC, hearing on Friday
The panel, which began the negotiations with both the Hindu and Muslims litigants in Ayodhya on March 13, held the final round of back-to-back discussions spread over three days in New Delhi from July 29.Updated: Aug 01, 2019, 19:53 IST
The three-member Ayodhya mediation panel submitted its report to the Supreme Court on Thursday, drawing the curtains on the almost four-and-a-half month long negotiations between Hindu and Muslim litigants to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement of the Ayodhya land dispute.
The panel, which began the negotiations with both the Hindu and Muslims litigants in Ayodhya on March 13, held the final round of back-to-back discussions spread over three days in New Delhi from July 29.
“I was not able to attend the final round of negotiations due to my prior commitments here in Lucknow. But yes, I have come to know that the panel has submitted its report. Representatives of four out of six Muslim litigants attended the last round of meetings,” said counsel for Babri Masjid Action Committee Zafaryab Jilani.
He refused to comment on the outcome of the negotiations due to the Supreme Court gag order. “I am on my way to New Delhi and chances are that the hearing in the case would resume from Friday,” he said. The SC has listed the matter for hearing at 2 pm on Friday.
Prominent Muslims who attended the last round of talks included chairman of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Zufar Ahmed Faruqui and Jamiate Ulema chief Maulana Arshad Madani.
Another Muslim litigant who attended the negotiations on Wednesday said though talks moved in a positive direction but there was lack of consensus at the end of the day because of the stance adopted by a prominent Muslim religious organisation.
Apart from Justice Kalifulla as the chairman, the mediation panel was assisted by two members – lawyer Sriram Panchu and Art of Living founder and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which though not a party to the land dispute but has been spearheading and funding the court battle, had made it clear at the outset that the issue was not related to faith but merely a title suit for land. “It’s a title suit, not a faith related case. We accepted the mediation proposal honouring the Supreme Court. Our stance on Babri Masjid has not changed at all,” said board’s secretary Maulana Umrain Rahmani.
*The panel had submitted an interim report to the apex court on July 13, but the court had ordered that the mediation proceedings would remain confidential and decided not to divulge its content.
*Formed on March 8, the Supreme Court had initially given four weeks to the panel, appointed by it under the chairman of Justice (retired) FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, to explore the possibility of settlement – even if there was one per cent chance of its success -- through mediation.
*On May 7, the panel requested for an extension of time to complete the proceedings. The apex court, which had granted extension till August 15, cut short the deadline to August 1 for submission of report by the panel after one of the Hindu litigants sought day-to-day hearing, claiming that mediation had failed.