Ayodhya land dispute case: SC grants an extension to mediation panel till August 15

Ayodhya land dispute case: SC grants an extension to mediation panel till August 15

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday extended till August 15 the tenure of the court-appointed mediation panel to find an amicable solution in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

Taking note of the request made by the three-member panel for an extension in the deadline, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi granted permission to the panel to submit its report by August 15.

Chief Justice Gogoi, while hearing the matter, said, “We are not going to tell what progress has been made, that is confidential.”

When the case came up for hearing today, the mediation panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla submitted its report to the court.

The bench also comprised Justices SA Bobde, SA Nazeer, Ashok Bhushan and DY Chandrachud.

Karunesh Shukla, the counsel of a litigant Mahant Dharam Das, told ANI: “Mediation committee is positive that the process will be fruitful and successful and this the reason why the court has not stopped the mediation process and has given them till August 15.”

Another counsel for Das, Varun Sinha, contended that the contents of the report are powerful. “The material submitted by the mediation panel in the report are powerful, hinting that the things are going in the positive direction. The report, however, cannot be brought into the public domain, as ordered by the Apex court.”

The court had on March 8 constituted a three-member committee, chaired by Justice Kalifulla, for exploring possibilities of an amicable settlement to the land dispute. The panel also comprised Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior Madras High Court advocate Sriram Panchu.

The court had expressed the view that the proceedings must be conducted with “utmost confidentiality” to ensure its success. It had also said mediation proceedings would be held in Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and the state government will provide the mediators with all facilities.

It had said the mediators will be at liberty to co-opt other members of the panel if needed and seek further legal assistance as and when required. The mediation process must be completed in eight weeks, the court had said.

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