Ayodhya hearing: SC grants time to mediators till August 15

AYODHYA : The Supreme Court on Friday granted time till August 15 to the three-member panel appointed by it to explore the possibility of resolving the centuries-old Ayodhya dispute through mediation among the parties.

A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which took up the matter today, said it had received the report dated May 7 submitted by the Committee led by Justice (retired) F M Ibrahim Khalifullah “indicating the progress made in mediation proceedings”.

The three-member panel, whose other members comprise of spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar snd senior advocate Sriram Panchu, has also sought an extension of time to complete the task assigned to it and find a lasting solution to the dispute, the CJI pointed out.

The bench, which also consisted of Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said it was inclined to grant more time as prayed for.

Granting the panel time till August 15, the court asked it to submit its next report on or before that date.

The bench also allowed the parties to file their objections, if any, to the translations of the various documents which is being undertaken by the SC Registry.

The Counsel for Nirmohi Akhara Advocate Sushil Jain said some difficulties were being experienced in the process.

But the court said the members of the panel had not complained of any such difficulties claimed.

The court had set up the mediation panel on March 8 and set an eight week deadline to complete the process.

The court had directed that the proceedings should be held in-camera as per norms applicable to conduct of mediation proceedings and “with utmost confidentiality so as to ensure its success”.

It also asked the various parties to the dispute to use the eight week period to take steps to make the cases ready for hearing.