Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Supreme Court: The 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ said that it will pass order on March 6, 2019 on whether the case may be sent for court-monitored mediation to save time.

At the outset of the hearing, CJI said that the Court will start hearing only when all the contesting parties tell it clearly whether official translated copies of records done by State of Uttar Pradesh is acceptable to all as it did not want any dispute over it in the midst of hearing. The State of Uttar Pradesh has submitted translation of the oral evidence in the case which runs into about 13000 pages.

CJI Gogoi said:

“We are not going to waste our time and of this Court if disputes are going to be raised regarding translation of the documents.”

The Court, hence, directed:

“We direct the parties to satisfy themselves with regard to the accuracy, correctness, relevance, etc. of the translation filed in the Registry by the State of Uttar Pradesh as well as the translated copies of the Exhibits made available by the parties and point out their respective agreements/objections stating precisely the part of the translations on which objections/disagreements are being raised. Once the said process is completed, which we expect the parties to do within eight weeks from today, further orders will follow so that hearing of the cases can begin in the right earnest.”

The Court, also suggested that during this 8 weeks’ time a Court appointed and Court monitored mediation with utmost confidentiality could be initiated to bring a permanent solution to the issues raised in the cases. It, however, made clear that:

“the mediation suggested is only to effectively utilize the time of eight weeks that would be taken to make the cases ready for hearing.”

Bobde, J said:

“We may decide a property dispute but we are thinking more about healing relationships.”

The bench, however, refrained from passing any order on the said suggestion for now and said that it will pass order on March 6, 2019 on the issue whether Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute be referred to Court appointed mediator.

[M. Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 272, order dated 26.02.2019]

(With inputs from The Leaflet)

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