Supreme Court extends mediation in Ayodhya dispute till 31 July, hearing to start from 2 August


The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed 2 August to start hearing appeals in the Babri Masjid dispute case. This was after the mediation panel led by former SC judge Justice Khalifulla submitted its status report.

“We now fix the date of hearing on August 2nd. We request the mediation committee to inform the outcome of the proceedings as of July 31”, said CJI Ranjan Gogoi as reporetd by Livelaw website.

The Supreme Court had announced its panel for the mediation in the contentious Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case in March this year. 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 had said that the retired Supreme Court judge Justice KMI Kalifulla will head the mediation group.

Two other members of the mediation panel were the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. The top court had given eight weeks for the mediation panel to submit its report. On 11 July, the top court had asked the panel to submit its status report by 18 July (today).

The current dispute is over the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya where the 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 violence and the killing of hundreds of people, mostly Muslims.

The BJP has always made this an electoral issue and the party desperately wanted to exploit 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.