The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the mediation panel looking into the Ayodhya land dispute case to submit its progress report by July 18, Bar and Bench reported. The mediation panel had earlier sought time till August 15 to complete its deliberations – a request the court had accepted.
The three-member panel is led by retired Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifulla, and also comprises spiritual leader Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis from July 25 in case the dispute does not get resolved by mediation.
Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the original litigants in the case, had moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking an early hearing. He claimed that no progress had been made by the mediation panel.
The court had set up the three-member panel in March to hold deliberations with the concerned parties and come up with a decision in eight weeks. The mediation panel submitted an interim report in a sealed cover to the top court registry in May but requested time until August 15. The court accepted the request, saying that if the mediators were optimistic about the results then there was no harm in granting additional time. The five-judge division bench that granted the extension was also headed by Gogoi.
The dispute over the land in Ayodhya has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to it. The Babri Masjid stood there before it was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva activists. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court ordered the land to be divided in three equal partsbetween the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the representative for the deity Ram.