In a key development in the Ayodhya title suit, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the court-appointed mediation panel time up till July 31 to submit its final mediation report, following which it would hold a hearing in the matter on August 2.
The CJI-led bench received an interim report from the 3-member mediation panel, wherein a request for time was reportedly sought, with the court acquiescing and granting said time till the end of July. The CJI said that the report would be examined and depending on the progress mentioned, the court could deliberate on August 2 the manner in which to proceed, with the possibility of day-to-day hearings also being mooted.
The counsel for the VHP said, "Today's order is in the positive direction. Initially, the time given to the mediation committee was till August 15, and now, the time has been shortened, and hence, it's positive for those who had wanted a day-to-day hearing in the case. The court will receive the final report, and after going through it, will hold its hearing on August 2."
The development comes a week after the court had taken up the case once more, following the mediation process that had been ordered on March 8 under a three-member panel comprising retired Supreme Court Justice Kalifulla, Sriram Panchu and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The details of the mediation have been kept under wraps thus far. The panel had initially been given 8 weeks for its mediation, during which time the copious volumes of documents relating to the case were also to be brought in order and translated so that the case could be heard.
There has been a constant clamour from pro-Mandir groups for the case to be heard on a day-to-day basis by the Supreme Court, with the government also choosing to not act in the matter, despite calls for it to, until the judicial process is still ongoing. In late 2018, the court had decreed that the matter wasn't a priority at that time. At that time, the pro-Mandir groups as well as BPJ MP Dr Subramanian Swamy had spoken favouring an ordinance in the matter, opining that the case being heard by the apex court was merely a title suit - a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court's 2010 verdict dividing the Ram Janmabhoomi site between three groups.