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Ayodhya Dispute Hearing from July 25 if Mediation Fails, Says SC; Seeks Progress Report from Panel

A Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, asked for the progress report by July 18 to assess the status of the mediation and if an amicable resolution is at all viable.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 11, 2019, 6:54 PM IST
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New Delhi: In what may fast-track the adjudication of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute, the Supreme Court on Thursday sought a progress report from the mediation panel within a week.

A Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, asked for the progress report by July 18 to assess the status of the mediation and if an amicable resolution is at all viable.

The Bench said that in case the process of mediation is over by then, the court will begin hearing this case on merit from July 25. It also said the case will be taken up on a day-to-day basis, indicating an early resolution of the matter should there be an adverse report regarding mediation.

This order assumes significance because the three-member mediation panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifullah, was previously asked to submit its final report by August 15. That period has now been cut short and the Bench has also indicated a day of hearing as early as from July 25.

The Court order came on a plea made by representative of the first plaintiff in the case, Gopal Singh Visharad, who had implored upon the top court to commence hearing of the case instead of waiting for mediation.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing tor Visharad's son, submitted that all previous attempts at the mediation have failed and the latest effort will also not yield any results. He was supported by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for Ram Lala Virajman. Kumar also favoured adjudication of the case purely on merit.

Representing Nirmohi Akhara, senior lawyer Sushil Jain also complained that mediation is not moving in the right direction since there has been no meeting between them and the Sunni Waqf Board. Resisting Visharad's plea, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who appeared for a Muslim plaintiff, contended that this application is misconceived and is apparently a ploy to scare the other side.

The Bench, however, said it will seek a report from the mediation panel within a week so as to enable it take a call on hearing the matter.

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