India: Mediation in Ayodhya desirable, ruling soon: SC

  • The Supreme Court on 6 Mar 19 said that mediation was “desirable” to sort out the contentious Ayodhya issue given its bitter history and its wide-ranging implications on the body polity even though the Hindu parties to the case were unwilling.
  • It however, stopped short of passing an order to this effect. Instead the court said that it would rule on this “very shortly”. “We cannot undo history.
  • But we can undo this dispute,” a five-judge bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said. The bench said that instead one mediator, there could be a panel of mediators to thrash out the issue. “While the process was on it could be confidential.”
  • Hindus and Muslims have been warring for the land on which the now demolished Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi structure once stood for long now.
  • The Allahabad High Court had in 2010 carved up the land in the ration of 2:1 between the Hindus and the Muslims. Both sides have challenged the ruling. It has been pending in the top court ever since.
  • The Hindu parties to the case the Nirmohi Akhara, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and the All India Hindu Mahasabha have all expressed their opposition to mediation.
  • The Hindu parties argued that it was a matter of faith, religion for the Hindus. “It is not a property dispute. There is hence no question of any compromise,” they said.
  • Some lawyers on the Hindu side argued whether any settlement of the mediation would bind all the millions that they claim to represent in the case.
  • The Muslim parties led by the Sunni Central Wakf Board however was agreeable to the suggestion. He said any settlement would bind all parties to the dispute.
  • Justice Bobde, next in line to be CJI after CJI Gogoi demits office later in 2019, observed that the court was conscious of the impact of the ruling on the body polity, the gravity of the issue.

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