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Ayodhya land dispute: 3-member mediation panel submits report, SC hearing today

The matter will be heard by a Constitution Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and judges SA Bobde, Dr DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.

Ayodhya land dispute: 3-member mediation panel submits report, SC hearing today
File photo

New Delhi: Almost two months after it referred the Ayodhya's Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation, the Supreme Court will on Friday take the matter for hearing. 

A notice in this regard was put up on the apex court website which said that the matter would be heard by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer at 10:30 am on Friday. 

The matter will come up for hearing for the first time today since the apex court in its March 8 order appointed former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, as members of the mediation committee.

The apex court had said that the mediation process would commence within a week and the panel would submit the progress report within four weeks. The panel was asked by the apex court to hold on-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks.

The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and Uttar Pradesh government, that they oppose the court's suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies supported the proposal. While opposing the suggestion of mediation, Hindu bodies had argued that earlier attempts to reach a compromise have failed and provisions of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) require public notice to be issued before the start of the process.

The top court had directed that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with utmost confidentiality for ensuring its success and the views expressed by any of the parties including the mediators should be kept confidential and not be revealed to any other person.

It had also directed that mediation proceedings be held on-camera as per the norms applicable to conduct mediation proceedings.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex 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.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.