APEX COURT FAVOURS MEDIATION TO SOLVE AYODHYA-BABRI MASJID LAND DISPUTE.

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Owing to the difference between the parties over the authenticity of translation of records, once again the hearing in Ayodhya-Babri Masjid land dispute case could not be commenced. Thus, the Court recommended that the parties should take into consideration the possibility of mediation. However, Senior Counsel C S Vaidyanathan and Ranjit Kumar, who were representing the Hindu Community were not keen to take recourse to mediation. The opposite party i.e. the Muslim Community which was represented by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan enunciated their readiness for mediation if the Court so desires. The matter was then adjourned to 6th March 2019 for the respective orders, wherein the Court will direct whether it wishes to appoint a mediator for the said matter or no.

Previously, the matter was adjourned for a period of six weeks, which had given both the parties adequate time to study and scrutinize the translations of records which were prepared and submitted by the UP Government. The Court had instructed the parties to point out their objections after analysing and reviewing the translations. The CJI had made it clear that the hearing in the matter would only commence after the parties accept that the translations submitted by UP Government were true and authentic.

Secretary-General submitted a report to the Court which was read by the CJI in front of the parties, which indicated that the records ran into approximately 38,000 pages in the four languages (English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, and Gurumukhi). It was only Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan, who represented Ram Lalla, approved the authenticity of translations. Further, the Counsel for the Sunni Waqf Board opposed the same by stating their stance that they did not have sufficient time to examine it.

This contention of the Sunni Waqf Board was denied by Vaidyanathan, who backed his claim by mentioning that the same translations were accepted to be authentic in December 2017 and all the parties had come to a consensus for final hearing.  Due to this debate, the CJI declared that the Court will not waste its time if parties are failing to agree on the translations. The Apex Court further stated that, the option of mediation was put forth after taking into consideration the provisions of Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Court enjoys all the rights to invoke its powers, it stated that the Court thinks it proper to observe that mediation was suggested to effectively utilize the time period of eight weeks which was provided for preparing the cases for hearing. Thus, the Court refrained from passing orders and stated that, ‘We defer passing of orders on the aforesaid suggestion i.e. mediation until 6th of March, 2019 (Wednesday) when this Bench will assemble again at 10.30 a.m. for the limited purpose of passing orders on reference of the dispute to a Court appointed mediation process’.

The coming Wednesday would definitely give new dimensions to this decade old dispute. The decision of the Apex Court will not define the rights of a particular community over the land, but it will also affect the results of the Lok Sabha election to a very great extent.