Ayodhya mediation fails, Supreme Court to fix daily hearing schedule | India News

NEW DELHI: Any glimmer of hope for a negotiated settlement to the vexed dispute over ownership of the 2.77-acre Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land in Ayodhya faded with the Supreme Court-appointed high-level mediation panel on Thursday expressing its inability to resolve the contentious issue.
A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazir will take up the matter on Friday and could fix a schedule for commencement of day-to-day hearing on a bunch of appeals challenging the Allahabad high court’s September 30, 2010 verdict which divided the disputed land into three equal parts — one part each to Ram Lalla (idol), Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board.
The mediation panel, comprising former SC judge FMI Kalifulla, well-known mediator and senior advocate Sriram Panchu and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, which was given a fortnight on July 18 by the SC to make a last-ditch attempt for a negotiated settlement, conveyed that they had failed to strike a consensus among rival parties and it was time to wind up the mediation process.
During the 155-day-long negotiation process held in Faizabad since March 8, the panel held numerous meetings with various people and parties connected to the dispute despite steadfast opposition from Hindu parties, who have filed appeals in the SC. The Muslim parties had said in the SC that they supported a negotiated settlement.
The panel, sources said, detailed its earnest efforts to bring the rival parties together and its success in getting moderates on both sides to agree to sit across the table to negotiate a solution. However, the panel said it failed to convince the hardliners on both sides to do the same.
On July 18, the five-judge bench led by CJI Gogoi had asked the panel to submit a status report on the negotiation process and indicated that, if required, it would pass orders for the schedule for commencement of hearing on the appeals pending in the SC for the last nine years. The panel had on July 18 conveyed to the SC that it hoped to bring extreme elements on both sides to the negotiating table.
The Allahabad HC had decided the title suits and divided the core disputed land into three equal parts. All three awardees and others challenged the HC verdict, saying it was not the prayer of any of the parties for a three-way division of the disputed land. Ever since the SC said in the Ismail Faruqui judgment on October 24, 1994 that the Ayodhya land dispute “is a matter suited essentially to resolution by negotiations which does not end in a winner or loser”, there have been four failed attempts in this direction.

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