Ram Mandir – Babri Mediation: Shift mediation to Delhi, Nirmohi Akhara moves SC for additional directions
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Ram Mandir – Babri Mediation: Shift mediation to Delhi, Nirmohi Akhara moves SC for additional directions

Meera Emmanuel

An application has been moved by the Panch Ramanandi Nirmohi Akhara Ayodhya before the Supreme Court for the issuance of additional directions to regulate the mediation proceedings ongoing in the Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid dispute.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had referred the Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid dispute for mediation on March 8 this year, after invoking Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The Akhara claims that the manner in which the mediation has been conducted so far has “left a lot to be desired“. In this regard, a reference is made to the mediation proceedings which took place on March 13, on which date the Akhara’s representatives were also present. However, the details concerning what transpired in these proceedings have not been divulged citing the orders of the Court to keep the mediation proceedings confidential. The mediation proceedings are set to continue over the next three days.

Notably, it is the Akhara’s contention that in order to resolve the dispute, direct dialogue between the Akhara and the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board is necessary. These parties claim title over the disputed properties in the matter. In view of same, the application states,

Any amicable resolution would be possible only if there is a direct dialogue between the UP Sunni Central Wakf Board and the Panch Ramanandi Nirmohi Akhara Ayodhya who claim title to the properties, while keeping the faith and aspirations of all devotees.”

Therefore, it is prayed that directions be issued to regulate the mediation proceedings in the Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid dispute so that these original parties claiming title are encouraged to have a dialogue with each other under the aegis of the mediation panel. It is also argued that such dialogue should be facilitated without requiring the parties to further give written proposals for the same.

The application also prays that the following directions also be issued to ensure that, “if anything fruitful is really possible, the same does in fact come out through the mediation process.

  • Two more retired judges should be appointed to the mediation panel
  • Any final decision must be subject to the approval of the Panchas involved. The application states,

The final decision would have to be taken collectively by the Panchas…the representatives of the appellant may be permitted to place the decision [of] revival proposals before the body of Panchas for their approval. The appellant may therefore be permitted to take such approval before the finalisation of any process.

  • The mediation proceedings should be shifted out of Faizabad to Delhi, given the sensitive nature of the case.

Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, and other local pressures, this Hon’ble Court may consider moving out the mediation proceedings from Faizabad to New Delhi or some other neutral place, where adequate and genuine security could be provided to the concerned parties and their representatives to enable them to participate in the proceedings without any threat, persuasion or hindrance.” 

A mediation panel comprising of former Supreme Court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla, spiritualist Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu is currently overseeing the mediation process in the Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid dispute, in line with the Supreme Court’s March 8 order.

The Court has requested the mediators to complete the mediation process within an 8-week interregnum period, as indicated in an order passed on February 26. Inter alia, the Court had also ordered that the mediation proceedings shall be kept confidential, and there ought not to be any reporting of the said proceedings either in the print or in the electronic media.

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