Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

New Delhi: Adjourning the Ayodhya dispute hearing after two months for want of translations of all documents, the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court on Tuesday floated the idea of mediation, for finding an amicable solution to the politically sensitive matter.

“Do you seriously think that the entire dispute, which is simmering for so many years, is over property? We can decide property rights but we are considering the possibility of ‘healing relations’, remarked Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi at the outset and got instant support from Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde.

“It’s not a dispute over private property. It has become so contentious. We’re seriously giving a chance to mediation; even if there is only 1% chance, it should be explored,” observed Justice Bobde.

The five-judge Bench, however, did not act immediately on the idea floated for mediation. It decided to pass an order next Tuesday (March 5) on whether to refer the issue to a court-appointed mediator.

The Bench, which also comprised Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer, asked the Court registry to provide translated copies of all documents within six weeks and said the main matter would be taken up for hearing after eight weeks.

The Muslim side accepted the court’s suggestion of mediation and noted that talks for resolution of the dispute and regular hearing on the petition challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment can move concurrently. However, the suggestion was not accepted by lawyers appearing for the Hindu parties, including Ram Lalla Virajmaan, noting that earlier also the process of mediation had failed several times.

The court also directed the parties to examine translated copies and raise objections, if any, within eight weeks, noting that it wants to explore the possibility of mediation to utilise the period of eight weeks after which the matter would be heard.

On the issue of mediation, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for a Muslim party, referred to the Allahabad High Court verdict and said mediation was tried earlier, too, but was unsuccessful. Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, said it was averse as “we do not want another round of mediation” to delay the matter.

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