Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who retired on Friday from his post, had asked Supreme Court lawyer Vikas Singh if Shah Rukh Khan would be keen to mediate in the contentious Babri-Masjid-Ram Mandir dispute. This was revealed by senior lawyer and the Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh during his farewell speech for Bobde.
Speaking through the Zoom conference call, Singh recalled how Bobde had asked him whether Shah Rukh Khan would be ‘willing to mediate in the Ayodhya dispute.’ “…I must give out one secret between me and Justice Bobde. In the initial stages of the hearing, he was very firm of the view that the Ayodhya dispute should be settled by mediation…He knew that I knew the Shah Rukh Khan family. He asked me if Shah Rukh Khan would be interested in participating in the mediation..I discussed this matter with Shah Rukh Khan and he was more than willing to be a part of this mediation because he felt that the best way Hindus and Muslims could live peacefully in this country is when you have complete religious harmony.”
Shah Rukh, according to Singh, suggested that the foundation stone of the Ram Temple should be laid by prominent Muslims while prominent Hindus should lead the foundation ceremony of a mosque for Muslims.
Singh, however, said that ‘unfortunately the mediation did not go ahead.’
The Supreme Court had formed a mediation panel headed by former Supreme Court judge KMI Kalifulla, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. But, the panel failed to resolve the dispute amicably.
The top court later awarded the disputed land in Ayodhya to Hindus while ordering the construction of a mosque outside Ayodhya at a five-acre land allotted by the government. The order was passed by the Constitutional Bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who was later nominated to the Upper House of parliament by the Narendra Modi government.