New Delhi: Outgoing Chief Justice of India S A Bobde wanted Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to be part of mediation process to resolve the Ayodhya land dispute. The interesting fact was revealed to public for the first time by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President and senior advocate Vikas Singh during his address on occasion of the farewell ceremony for the CJI. The mediation panel was set up by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi in March 2019 to resolve the Ayodhya dispute. Singh, praising the endeavour of Justice Bobde, said that the actor had agreed, but the process could not come through.
He said that while Justice Bobde was in the initial stage of Ayodhya hearing, he was of firm view that the problem could be resolved through mediation. "While on the Ayodhya dispute, I must give out a secret between me and Justice Bobde. While he was in the initial stage of the hearing, he asked me if Shahrukh Khan can be a part of the committee. He asked me because he knew I know the family of Khan. I discussed this matter with Khan and he was willing to take it.
"Khan even said the foundation stone of mandir be laid by Muslims, and the foundation of masjid be laid by Hindus. But mediation process failed and so the plan was dropped. But his willingness to resolve communal tension through mediation was noteworthy," Singh said.
The mediation panel had comprised former Supreme Court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla, Art of Living Foundation's Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
As the mediation process failed, the apex court heard the matter and five-judge bench unanimously paved way for construction of temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Justice Bobde, who decided several key cases during his tenure, including the historic Ayodhya verdict, was administered oath as the 47th CJI in November 2019 and is retiring today.