New Delhi: A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi began the final hearing of the Ayodhya title suit on Tuesday as efforts of a three-member mediation panel failed to resolve the matter.
The court arrived at this decision after going through the mediation panel’s report which was submitted on August 1. The court had set a three member panel comprising of former Supreme Court judge F M Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, which had started its consultation in March.
On Monday, the RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya moved the top court, seeking live streaming or recording of the day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya land dispute case scheduled to commence from Tuesday.
The in-camera proceedings were to be completed within eight weeks. But the court extended the time frame till August 15 after the panel said they were "optimistic" about an amicable solution.
The apex court, which had taken note of the report of the three-member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, had said that the mediation proceedings, which went on for about four months, have not resulted in any final settlement and it has to decide the matter pending before it.
The panel had invited more than 25 parties to the mediation sessions. But Nirmohi Akhara, one of the key petitioners in the case, said only the claimants to the disputed land --- the Sunni Waqf Board and the Akhara -- should be part of mediation. Only these two stakeholders had no objections to mediation. The rest, including the Uttar Pradesh government, were against it.
The bench also comprises Justices S A Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer. A verdict is expected before Chief Justice Gogoi retires in November, sources said.
The dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, where a 16th Century mosque -- said to have been built by Mughal emperor Babur - once stood.
In December 1992, it was razed by Hindu activists who believed that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram. Around 2,000 people had died in riots across the country....