The Supreme Court on Friday announced its panel for the mediation in the contentious Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case. Announcing the panel, the Supreme Court Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, Ashok Bhushan, DY Chandrachud and Abdul Nazeer said that the retired Supreme Court judge Justice KMI Kalifulla will head the mediation group.
Two other members of the mediation panel will be Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. Sri Sri had hailed the Supreme Court’s suggestion for an out of court settlement to the dispute.
In a series of tweet earlier this week, Sri Sri had said, “This move towards mediation by the Hon Supreme Court is in the best interest of the country and all parties concerned. We should not leave any stone unturned in resolving this burning issue amicably.”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on whether to refer the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case for a mediation after Hindu groups opposed the idea of mediation to resolve the issue. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked the concerned parties to suggest names for mediator or panel for mediators. CJI Gogoi, according to news agency ANI, said, “We intend to pass the order soon.”
On Friday, the top court said that the mediation process in the Babri Masjid-Ram Rajnmabhoomi dispute case must start within four weeks and to be completed within eight weeks. Media will be barred from reporting on the process.
The current dispute is over the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya where Babri Masjid existed until 6 December 1992, when Hindu fanatics led by BJP leaders brought down the 16th century heritage site. This had led to countrywide religious violence, killing hundreds of people, mostly Muslims.
The BJP has always made this an electoral issue and the party desperately wanted to exploit the Hindu sentiments in this year’s Lok Sabha polls. However, the Supreme Court’s decision to go down the mediation route appears to have put paid to the saffron party’s electoral plans.