Ayodhya case: SC sets fresh deadline, grants time till 15 Aug

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today extended till 15 August the time for a panel of mediators, headed by former apex court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla, to explore an amicable solution to the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute at Ayodhya.

A five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said they have received the report from Justice Kalifulla in which the panel has sought extension of time till 15 August to complete mediation proceedings.

“If the mediators are optimistic about the result and are seeking time till August 15, what is the harm in granting time? This issue has been pending for years and years. Why should we not grant time,” the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the parties.

The counsel appearing for both the Hindu and Muslim parties expressed confidence over the ongoing mediation proceedings and said they are fully cooperating with the process.

At the outset the bench said they have received the report on 7 May from the chairman of the panel and they have requested the court to consider extending the time till 15 August to complete the mediation proceedings.

“We have perused and considered the report of 7 May of Justice F M I Kalifulla indicating the progress made in the mediation proceeding.”

“Chairman of the mediation committee has sought extension of time till August 15 to enable the committee to find an amicable solution. We are inclined to grant time till 15 August,” the bench said.

One of the advocates appearing in the matter said the apex court had earlier given eight weeks time to the panel of mediators and now nine weeks have gone by.

“We had given eight weeks and the report has come. We are not inclined to tell you what is there in the report of the committee,” the bench said.

One of the counsel told the bench that there are around 13,990 pages of documents in vernacular languages and said some wrong translations have been made which would be a problem.