SC refers Ayodhya land dispute to 3-member mediation panel

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 of the panel will be spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, said a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

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. 

The bench directed that the mediation will be held at Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and the process should 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.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

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