On Friday, Chief Justice of India declared that the mediation panel of judge FMI Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu had failed to resolve the Ayodhya land dispute issue. He said that day-to-day hearings on the issue will start from August 6.
The mediation panel had handed over their final report in a sealed cover on July 11. Since the members in the panel failed to reach a consensus on the matter, the apex court will be hearing the case continuously since the panel submitted its final report. The hearings will continue to take place until unless a verdict is passed.
While those who were pro-Mandir had earlier wanted the Centre to formulate and pass a law to resolve the Ayodhya issue, they agreed to the mediation process. But the anti-Mandir brigade had never in the favour of out-of-court settlement. Below the reasons that explain this case.
When the mediation panel was announced in March, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had questioned the appointment of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a member of the committee. On 9 March he said, “This is regrettable that such a person who is not neutral has been appointed by the Supreme Court”. He said that Sri Sri was 'not a neutral person'. He also alleged that the Art of Living founder had made controversial comments on the issue in the past.
"Ravi Shankar had made controversial statements on November 4, 2018 on the Ayodhya issue and threatened that India may become like Syria if Muslims do not give up their claims on the disputed land," Owaisi told the media. "When he is connected with the subject matter, when he had made his position clear on which party's side he speaks... This is regrettable that such a person who is not neutral has been appointed by the Supreme Court," he said.
Petitioner Iqbal Ansari questioned the suggestion of mediation by the courts in February 2019 and had strongly opposed it. He said, “My father late Hashim Ansari (the original litigant in the Ayodhya dispute) tried to have out of court settlement on many occasions but all efforts failed,” he said. “When both Hindu and Muslim litigants have agreed to abide by the court’s order, why this new mediation process? All forms of mediation have failed.”
The Supreme Court in the July 11 hearing on the Ayodhya issue said that they have given the panel until 18 July to submit an interim report of the mediation and said that in case the mediation fails it will start hearing the issue from 25 July. Here's what Haji Mehboob said on 11 July 2019: "The mediation was started by the Supreme Court and we know that the mediation was going on the in right direction but Bajrang Dal, Hindu Mahasabha never want the issue to be resolved. Everyone wants the issue to be resolved except them. The issue was being resolved peacefully but they don't want it. What can be done? Now the court has given them time. Let's see what happens," he said.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had rejected the suggestion of an out-of-court settlement by the Supreme Court way back in April 2017.
“No out-of-court settlement is acceptable to us," AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rehmani told the media after a two-day meeting of the board executive. A resolution passed by the board executive also said that “on the Babri Masjid issue, the board would only accept a decision by the Supreme Court", making it clear that the AIMPLB is not willing to accept the Supreme Court’s suggestion.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan who was appearing for the Muslim parties, told the SC that it has to bind everybody or else it would be neglecting the fact there is a procedure under the law. He told that the apex court should not delve into the “sentiments” of people or communities. Justice DY Chandrachud reminded Dhawan that a dispute of this kind was a wider one, not simply between individuals but between two communities. When Justice Chandrachud sought to know from Dhawan whether this issue can be mediated or not, Dhawan said, “If we go through mediation how will the court bind millions.”
Sunni Waqf Board lawyer Rajiv Dhawan on 14 July 2018 in court said, “I am of the view that just as the Afghan Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha, the Hindu Taliban destroyed the Babri Masjid” be willing to accept a negotiated settlement and give up their claims on the 2.77 acres of disputed land, if that is what the mediation led to?
He asserted the Board's position that despite the Masjid no longer standing there, it cannot be told to not pray at the site.
The Sunni Waqf Board, meanwhile, completely rejected the claims of the Nirmohi Akhara and Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas on the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land. The land was equally divided between the three parties by the Allahabad High Court in 2010.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan had said on March 11 saying that Muslims did not have enough representation in the mediation panel. “From Muslim’s side there is only one representative, while there are many people from the other side including Sri Sri Ravishankar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) etc. How is it a balanced panel of mediation? Masjid side is helpless, they have no option but to surrender,” he added. The politician had already suggested a defeat of the anti-Mandir side.
The likes of Khan and AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi use the Ayodhya issue to provoke the people.
On March 12, Khan had said that with regards to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, there are many Ram temples in Ayodhya, "but the exact ‘janmabhoomi’ or birthplace of Lord Ram is not clear." He also said that claimed that Muslims in present-day India are considered “tenants".Meanwhile, Owaisi, in a speech ahead of UP assembly polls, trying evoke sentiments on the Ayodhya matter said on February 17, “Mai masjid ka gira hua gumbad hu..”