A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer reserved its order on whether the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute can be settled through mediation.
“We cannot do anything about Babur invading etc. We can look only look at what exists in the present moment,” Justice Bobde said during the submissions.
The bench also said they were considering banning the media from reporting the mediation proceedings, but cautioned against construing it as a gag order.
Hindu Mahasabha and Ram Lalla opposed the reference to mediation
The Supreme Court had, on February 26, 2019, asked the parties whether they would be willing to refer the dispute to mediation.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan on behalf of Ram Lalla submitted to the Court that repeated attempts had been made earlier to settle the dispute amicably but had failed.
“The faith that Lord Rama was born at the disputed side is not negotiable. We are willing to crowd-fund the construction of a mosque at some other place,” Vaidyanathan said.
The counsel from the Akhil Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha also opposed mediation and said that if mediation was at all ordered, the general public should be permitted to participate after issuing a public notice under Order 1 Rule 8 of the Civil Procedure Code.
Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case
The dispute over a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, is about whether the 16th century Babri mosque was built on top of a Ram temple, after demolishing or modifying it.
The current appeals in the Supreme Court were filed against a 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.