‘Can’t change what Babur did’: SC reserves order on mediation on Ayodhya

The Supreme Court rebuked the Hindu Mahasabha lawyer for rejecting mediation in Ayodhya case.
A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi December 7, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files(REUTERS)
A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi December 7, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files(REUTERS)
Updated on Mar 06, 2019 02:58 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Hindu Mahasabha, one of the parties to the Ayodhya land title case, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it is not ready for any kind of mediation to resolve the dispute. “For us, it is a sentimental issue,” the Mahasabha told the top court, asking the five-judge constitution bench to decide the decades-old Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case.

“It is the property of the deity and nobody has the right to mediate,” the group said, underlining that the parties had been waiting since 1950 for a decision.

To the Hindu Mahasabha submission, Justice SA Bobde asked, “Are you not pre-judging the whole thing” in the Ayodhya matter. The Supreme Court judge said, “You saying it’s a failure even before it’s attempted. We think that is not fair.”

Follow all updates on Ayodhya case in Supreme Court here

“When the court is ordering mediation, we are not yet assuming somebody will give up something. We think it’s not primarily a dispute over the 1500 yards of land. This is about sentiment or faith. Do not think that we are not conscious of it or do you think that you have more faith than us,” Justice Bobde said.

The Hindu Mahasabha’s argument was that the Hindus are not ready for any mediation. “Do not refer the matter to mediation. We are waiting for outcome of result since 1950,” the Hindu Mahasabha lawyer told the Supreme Court, which reserved its order on the matter for the day.

“We are conscious of the body politic of this country it’s going to have an impact on. it’s about minds, hearts and healing if possible and we do not really understand how it is being rejected even before it is attempted,” the judge said.

He further said, “We also know history. We are trying to tell you that we have no control over what happened in the past, over Babur invading or who demolished. No one can undo that. We can only undo what exists before us in the present moment and that is the dispute.”

Appearing for the Muslim parties, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan told the court that it has to bind everybody otherwise it would be ignoring the fact there is a procedure under the law. He said the Supreme Court should not go into the “sentiments” of people or communities.

Justice DY Chandrachud told Dhawan that a dispute of this nature which is not just between two people but is a wider dispute between two communities. Justice Chandrachud sought to know from Rajeev Dhawan whether this issue can be mediated or not.

“If we go through mediation how will the court bind millions,” Dhawan told the court.

“Sentiment will always be there for communities. Sabarimala had sentiment. There will always be some angst,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Justice Chandrachud said the purpose of mediation eventually is to see that there is a compromise and dispose of the dispute “effectively”. The Supreme Court judge said, “Once suit assumes a representative character, there can’t be any compromise to the suit.”

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan made submissions for the deity in the Supreme Court arguing that “only thing to find” in the ongoing dispute is the alternate place for a mosque. He told the court that “statement has already been recorded that Ayodhya is Ramjanmabhoomi [land of birth] but which is the Janma Sthan [place of birth] is a matter of faith and belief. This is a matter that is non-negotiable.”

“Nobody can possibly agree to some other place being the janmabhoomi. The only thing is to find an alternative place for a mosque. With regard to the temple coming up, nobody can possibly agree to another place,” Vaidyanathan told the Supreme Court.

Justice Bobde responded to Vaidyanathan saying, “You are assuming that this is a point of view that can’t be put forth in mediation. You can always put forth this.”

The Ayodhya title suit reached the Supreme Court after petitioners challenged the Allahabad High Court verdict of 2010. The high court had partitioned the disputed land equally among the three parties representing Ram Lalla (the deity), the Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board.


    Bhadra is a legal correspondent and reports Supreme Court proceedings, besides writing on legal issues. A law graduate, Bhadra has extensively covered trial of high-profile criminal cases. She has had a short stint as a crime reporter too.

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