A big day looms once again in the Supreme Court with respect to the Ayodhya title suit, with the 5-judge Constitution bench set to decide whether to send the matter for a court-monitored mediation on Friday.
A fairly lengthy deliberation had taken place over the topic on Wednesday, with the justices elaborating on what a mediation could entail, during the hearing in the case. At the end, the bench had reserved its order. Hindu bodies in the case, apart from the Nirmohi Akhada, have opposed the mediation, while Muslim bodies have backed it.
What the bench said about mediation:
- "We are inclined to suggest mediation because it’s not just an issue about that land. It’s an issue of sentiment, faith. We are conscious of the gravity of the dispute and conscious of the impact it will have. It’s not only about the land. It’s about mind, hearts and whether any healing is possible" - Justice Bobde
- "Outcome of the mediation is not something the court considers when it orders for court-monitored mediation. A matrimonial dispute that has been referred to for mediation might end up in divorce or might end up in reconciliation. That’s not something the court looks into" - Justice Bobde
- "If the issue is referred for mediation, it’s not going to be one mediator but a panel of mediators" - Justice Bobde
- "If mediation is decided upon, details will have to be curtailed from the media. It might not be a gag necessarily but no motive should be ascertained to anybody involved in the mediation process" - Justice Bobde
- "Purpose of mediation is to reach a compromise between parties" - Justice Chandrachud
The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had asked the contesting parties to explore the possibility of amicably settling the decades-old dispute through mediation - even as the relevant documents relating to the case take their required 8 weeks to translate and bring to order.
Meanwhile, speaking to Republic TV on Wednesday, BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy had opined that mediation would be a futile process. When speaking to Republic TV's Legal Editor Rhythm Anand Bhardwaj, he summed up his views in four points:
- "There is no possibility that any court order can make the government part with the land. Government has complete discretion on whom to give."
- "Former PM Narasimha Rao has made a commitment that if there was a pre-existing Temple, he'd give land to the Hindus. That commitment has to be kept."
- "Masjid isn't an essential part of Islam, it can be shifted, so shift it." (to the Muslim parties)
- (When asked about 'mediation', he offered to the Muslim parties that land for building a Masjid would be made available, just that they should vacate the Ram Janmabhoomi site) "I suggest a compromise: ask the Muslims parties to go and build their Mandir there. I'm telling you I'm mediating, 'I'll give you the land. Go and build it there'. "We are sitting together and immediately proposing that there's land you can build the Masjid, clear this Ram Janmabhoomi"