A wall of bricks bearing 'Shri Ram' chants seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya.
A wall of bricks bearing 'Shri Ram' chants seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya.
PTI Photo

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Ayodhya mediation panel to continue with its negotiations on the temple dispute issue till July 31 and maintain confidentially of the court-monitored process.

The panel will submit to the court its "outcome" report by August 1. This, in turn, would be considered by a five judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on August 2 to decide the future course of action. The Bench also comprises Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

The court has tentatively fixed the hearing of appeals on the Ayodhya issue from August 2, the future course of which will be determined by the outcome report.

The court observed that hearings would be conducted if it felt the mediation had been inconclusive.Earlier, the court had tentatively fixed July 25 for commencement of day to day hearing on appeals in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

The top court, on March 8, took a major step when it appointed a three-member mediation panel to talk to all stakeholders and try to reach a consensus on solving the vexed dispute.

The court, while recommending mediation, said it was looking for "a possibility of healing relationships". Headed by Kalifulla, the other two members of the panel are spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a well-known mediator in legal circles.

The Supreme Court had asked the panel to conduct in-camera proceedings and the complete the mediation process within eight weeks. The Hindu parties have contested that the mediation is not progressing in a positive direction while the Muslim parties have held back from making a statement on the nature of the proceedings.

As a result, the court has asked the mediation committee to submit its report on the consultations held so far.

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