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Supreme Court: Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties in the Ayodhya  title dispute case, has filed an application in the Supreme Court, opposing the Centre’s plea to return to the original owners excess land acquired around the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

“The government cannot get back the land to give it to who they want. Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas cannot be given a majority of the land,”

The lawyer appearing for the Akhara said that the acquisition of the land by the government had led to the destruction of several temples managed by the Akhara. The Akhara has pleaded to the court to decide the title dispute.

The central government had in January this year filed a petition seeking modification of the court’s 2003 order to allow it to return the “excess/superfluous land” out of the 67.703 acres acquired in Ayodhya to its original owners including Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. The government had been directed by the court to maintain “status quo” with regard to entire land including the non-disputed acquired areas.

(Source: ANI)


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Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ has referred the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, famously known as the Ayodhya Dispute, to a Court-monitored Mediation. It said:

“Notwithstanding the lack of consensus between the parties in the matter we are of the view that an attempt should be made to settle the dispute by mediation.”

Stating that there is no legal impediment to making a reference to mediation for a possible settlement of the disputes arising out of the appeals, the Court said that whether Order 1 rule 8 CPC and Order XXIII rule 3-B of the CPC would apply in the event parties arrive at a settlement/compromise in the mediation proceedings is a matter left open to be decided at the appropriate stage.

Panel of Mediators:

  1. Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India – Chairman
  2. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Member
  3. Shri Sriram Panchu, Senior Advocate – Member

The members are at liberty to co-opt other members of the Panel.

Where and how:

The proceedings will take place and Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. The Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide mediators all the facilities in Faizabad. Mediators can seek further legal assistance as and when required. The proceedings will be held in-camera.

Time-frame:

The mediation process is expected to commence within a week and the mediators have to send a report of the progress of the mediation to the Court within four weeks of the commencement of the process.

Confidentiality of the proceedings:

The Court said that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with utmost confidentiality so as to ensure its success which can only be safeguarded by directing that the proceedings of mediation and the views expressed therein by any of the parties including the learned Mediators shall be kept confidential and shall not be revealed to any other person. The Court further said:

“while the mediation proceedings are being carried out, there ought not to be any reporting of the said proceedings either in the print or in the electronic media. However, we refrain from passing any specific order at this stage and instead empower the learned mediators to pass necessary orders in writing, if so required, to restrain publication of the details of the mediation proceedings.”

In it’s order dated 26.02.2019, the Court has said 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.”

Reserving it’s order on 06.03.2019, the Court had said:

“Even if there is one percent chance, it should be explored.”

[M. Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 342, order dated 08.03.2019]

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Supreme Court: The 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ has said that it will ‘soon’ pass the order on whether the Ayodhya dispute will be referred to a Court appointed mediation for ‘permanent solution’.

The Court has asked the parties to suggest the name of a mediator or a panel of mediators. It said:

“There need not be one mediator but a panel of mediators. When the mediation is on, it should not be reported on. It may not be a gag but no motive should be attributed to anyone when the mediation process in on.”

Considering the possibility of ‘healing relations’, the Court said:

“Even if there is one percent chance, it should be explored.”

In it’s order dated 26.02.2019, the Court has said 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.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Case BriefsSupreme Court

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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Supreme Court: In a hearing that lasted for less than a minute, the bench comprising Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S K Kaul, J said that an appropriate bench constituted by it will pass an order on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute title case famously known as the Ayodhya dispute.

Earlier on 27.09.2018, a Bench comprising of former CJ Dipak Misra and Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ., by a majority of 2:1, had held that the appeals concerning the Ayodhya (Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid) matter need not be referred to a larger Bench for consideration.

(Source: PTI)

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Supreme Court: In the Ram Janamabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, famously known as the Ayodhya matter, Senior Advocate Raju Ramchandran, appearing for Sunni Waqf Board asked the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AK Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ to refer the matter to a Constitutional bench. He said that “the issue needs larger consideration keeping in view that it is a national issue.”

Senior Advocate Harish Salve said:

“We are beyond 1992-1993. All that remains is a title dispute over property. It should be decided just like a title suit, and not on other grounds.”

The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on 15.05.2018.

On the last hearing, the Court witnessed a high voltage drama when Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan and Additional Solicitors Generals Maninder Singh and Tushar Mehta engaged in war of words.

Source: ANI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Fixing the next hearing on 08.02.2018, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ asked all the Advocates-on Record appearing for all the parties to work in harmony and see to it that the documents are filed within a time-frame, if not already filed. The Court said that, on the next date, the advocates should come prepared to argue the matter and shall not seek any adjournment and if the Registry finds that the matter is incomplete for some reason or the other, it shall place the matter before the learned Chief Justice of India on the administrative side for fixing a date for completion of the record.

The said order came after Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sunni Waqf Board, told the Court that the pleadings were not complete as all the exhibits were not filled before the court. However, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, representing the State of Uttar Pradesh, rebutted Kapil Sibal’s claim and told the Court that all the related documents and requisite translation copies were on record.

The Court also expressed shock over certain arguments advanced by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave. During the course of hearing, the counsels had submitted before the Court that the matter should be heard at present as it was not an ordinary appeal arising out of ordinary suit and that the matter should be listed some time in 2019.

Regarding the submission made by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan that he would require four months to read prepare and argue, the Court said:

“Dr. Dhavan, learned senior counsel almost thought of writing a Shavian preface, which can more than be main drama or a play, by stating that he would require four months to read, prepare and argue. We have noted this, as the said submission was advanced with medieval passion and sans reason.”

The Court refused to accept the abovementioned submissions.

Rajeev Dhavan had also sought for referring the matter to a larger bench in view of the decision rendered by the Constitution Bench in M. Ismail Faruqui (Dr) v. Union of India, (1994) 6 SCC 360. However, Senior Advocates K. Parasran and Harish Salve submitted before the Court that:

“the issue whether the matter should be referred to a larger Bench or not, cannot be adjudged at this juncture, because the judgment by the Constitution Bench is binding on this Court and further if an occasion arises and if the context so requires, the matter may be considered at that stage, but that should not stall the process of hearing of this matter.”

Refusing to stall the hearing in the matter, the Court listed the matter on 08.02.2018. [M.Siddiq (D) v. Mahant Suresh Das,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 1416, order dated 05.12.2017]

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On 08.08.2017, the Shia Waqf Board filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya matter and said that it was fine if the Masjid was located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from Lord Ram’s birth place i.e. Ram Janmabhoomi. In the affidavit, the Board has mentioned that since the Babri Masjid was a Shia Waqf, the Shia Waqf Baord alone is entitled to negotiate and arrive at a peaceful settlement with the stakeholders.

The Babri Masjid was built in the 16th century and was demolished in the year 1992 for allegedly being built over the Ram Janmabhoomi. The demolition resulted into nation-wide communal riots between Hindu and Muslim community that killed around 900 people. Since then, there has been an ongoing dispute over the rights of the Hindu and Muslim community to build a temple or a masjid, respectively.

Source: ANI