The mediation panel for the Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute will be filing a status report by July 18, following which the Supreme Court will decide on the issue.
However, if the mediation committee feels it has no more role, the top court will hear the case from July 25.
In the last hearing on May 10, the mediation panel was given time till August 15 by the Supreme Court to come up with a solution.
“We ask the mediation committee chairperson to give a status report. This report will be submitted by next week and we will decide on this next week. We also make it clear that in case the mediation committee says it should be concluded, we will start hearing the appeals from the July 25,” said a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi today.
The top court had referred the decades-old dispute for mediation and set up the panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifulla. The panel has been tasked by the court to hold consultations to explore a potential avenue for an amicable settlement.
The panel was constituted after the court noted “the lack of consensus between the parties in the matter”.
The dispute involves the site in Ayodhya where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed in 1992 by Hindu activists who believe that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In riots following the mosque demolition, 2,000 people died across the country.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla (infant Ram).
The Constitution Bench chose mediation despite objections from petitioners like the Uttar Pradesh government. Barring the Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara, one of the Hindu petitioners, all were against mediation. But the judges had said mediation may help in “healing relations”.
“It is not only about property. It is about mind, heart and healing, if possible,” the bench had said in a past hearing.