Babri land case: Former judge Kallifulla to lead Supreme Court mediation team
The Supreme Court on Friday referred the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation by a panel headed by former apex court judge F.M.I. Kallifulla and gave it eight weeks to complete the process.
The other members on the panel are spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, said a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The bench directed that the mediation will be held in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, and the process start within a week from Friday.
The bench, also comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer, said the panel should file a progress report of the proceedings within four weeks and complete the process within eight weeks.
The apex court said 'utmost confidentiality' should be maintained to ensure success of the mediation process and no media, neither print nor electronic, should report the proceedings.
The panel of mediators can co-opt more members in the team, it said. In case of any difficulty, the chairman will inform the apex court registry about it, it added.
Hindu bodies, except the Nirmohi Akhara, have opposed the apex court's suggestion to refer the issue for mediation, while Muslim bodies have supported it.
The bench had concluded the hearing by asking stakeholders to give the names of possible mediators.
The apex court in its Wednesday hearing observed that the issue is not about 1,500 square feet of land, but about religious sentiments.
The bench said it was conscious of the gravity and impact of the issue on 'public sentiment' and also on the 'body politic of the country'.
It said the judges were aware of the history and were trying that the dispute be resolved amicably. 'It is not only about property. It is about mind, heart and healing, if possible,' the bench said.
'We are not concerned about what has happened in the past. Don't you think we have read the history. We are not concerned what Babar did in the past or who was the king and who invaded. We cannot undo what has happened but we can go into what exists in the present moment,' the bench said, when a lawyer contended that injustices were meted out to Hindus by invaders in the past.