Plaintiff says no progress in Ayodhya mediation process, seeks early hearing in Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea for early hearing in the Ayodhya title case after a plaintiff said no progress had been made in the first round of mediation conducted by the court-appointed mediators.
Former additional solicitor-general and senior advocate P.S. Narasimha told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the hearing on the land dispute should be taken up on the judicial side as the first round of mediation had so far failed to produce any result.
Narasimha represents G.S. Visharad, one of the plaintiff to the original suit.
“No progress has been made even after the first round of mediation… the matter needs to be taken up for early hearing,” the senior counsel said.
The bench, which includes Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, asked the counsel to file a formal application.
On March 8, a five-judge Constitution bench had referred the vexed Ayodhya title dispute for mediation. The court appointed former apex court judge Ibrahim Kalifullah as chairperson while spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and expert mediator Sriram Panchu were nominated to the mediation committee to try for an out-of-court settlement.
On May 10, the team of mediators had expressed “optimism” for a negotiated settlement. The constitution bench had granted time till August 15 to the three-member mediation panel to hammer out an out-of-court solution.
The bench had made it clear that it would not brook any effort to stall the mediation. “There needs to be an extension of time. Nobody will come in the way of mediation… there is no harm in giving more time,” the bench had observed.
The constitution bench had directed that the entire mediation process at Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh should be held “in camera” without media coverage and asked all parties to the dispute to maintain utmost confidentiality.