Ayodhya mediators: Retired Supreme Court judge, spiritual guru and lawyer
The Supreme Court on Friday set up a three-member panel comprising a retired Supreme Court judge, a spiritual guru and a trained mediator, who is also a senior advocate. The three mediators are Justice (retired) FMI Kalifulla, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and lawyer Sriram Panchu.
Justice Kalifulla retired from the Supreme Court in 2016. He had a distinguished career as a lawyer before he was appointed as permanent judge in the Madras High Court in 2000. Justice Kalifulla later served as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, from where he was elevated as a Supreme Court judge in 2012.
The Supreme Court order for reform of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2016 was among the landmark judgment that Justice Kalifulla wrote. He adjudicated the BCCI case with then Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
In another landmark judgment, Justice Kalifulla as a Madras High Court judge had upheld introduction of Vedic Astrology as a course of scientific study in the Indian universities. His ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
Following the Supreme Court order for mediation in Ayodhya title dispute case, Justice Kalifullah, as news agency ANI reported, said, “We will take every effort to resolve the issue amicably.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a widely followed spiritual guru, whose Art of Living has its presence in several countries. In 2017-18, Sri Sri had offered to mediate the Ayodhya dispute. He held a few rounds of meetings with the parties representing Hindus and Muslims last year. He had said at the time that a Supreme Court verdict might not satisfy the parties and result into “bloodshed”.
According to the Art of Living website, Sri Sir has acted “as an ambassador of peace…in conflict resolution around the world. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Colombia, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir, and Bihar.”
On Supreme Court for mediation in Ayodhya case, Sri Sri posted a tweet using hashtag #ayodhyamediation. He said, “Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals.”
Earlier on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on mediation, Sri Sri had tweeted, “This move towards mediation by the Hon Supreme Court is in the best interest of the country and all parties concerned. We should not leave any stone unturned in resolving this burning issue amicably.”
Sriram Panchu is a founder of The Mediation Chambers and is known for making mediation an instrumental part of India’s legal system. Panchu set up India’s first court-annexed mediation centre in 2005.
To his credit, Panchu has a large of out-of-court settlement of high-value disputes related to commerce and property. In the past, the Supreme Court had appointed him as a mediator to resolve a 500 sq km dispute between Assam and Nagaland. The court has described Panchu as “one of the foremost mediators in the country”.