• The Supreme Court Friday referred the decades-old Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute case for mediation.
• The five-judge bench headed by CJI Gogoi constituted a three-member mediation panel headed by former SC judge Justice F M Kalifullah to resolve the issue.
• The other members of the panel include spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu.
About the mediation process
• The mediation process will be held in Faizabad and will start within a week, the Supreme Court said.
• The SC also said, the process should be done “utmost confidentiality,” and should be concluded in eight weeks.
• The first status report is to be submitted in four weeks. The bench also said the panel of mediators may co-opt more members in case of any difficulty.
• The media is refrained from publishing the details of the proceedings. “We do not find any legal impediment in referring the matter to mediation,” the bench said.
Major highlights about the observation by the bench
• During the hearing, the court observed that the issue is primarily not about the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, but about religious sentiments.
• The bench said it could only decide on the property and what it was looking at was “a possibility of healing relationships.”
• Most of the Hindu petitioners, including those representing deity Ramlalla Virajman, and the Uttar Pradesh government have opposed the offer of mediation.
• The Muslim bodies have extended their support to the idea but have raised objections over privacy during the negotiations.
Mains Paper 2: Polity | Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Prelims level: Legal provisions mentioned in the newscard
Mains level: Arbitration mechanism in India – pros, cons, challenges and way forward