SC extends term of mediation panel on Ayodhya dispute till August 15

The Supreme Court on Friday extended the term of the mediation committee on the Ayodhya dispute till August 15.
The court said the members of the committee were not experiencing any difficulty in the mediation process. 
It observed that the Chairman of the committee, former Supreme Court judge F. M. I. Kalifulla, had indicated progress in mediation so far and sought extension of time to complete the task. 
The court refused to divulge the details on the mediation efforts. 
"We will not tell you the progress made, that is confidential," replied the court to a counsel's query regarding the mediation. The court observed that the mediation process can be also extended, if required. 
The court's observation came after a report was submitted on the mediation efforts. 
Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the Muslim litigants, told the court that they have no objection to the mediation process taking time. 
Iqbal Ansari, the son of Muslim litigant Hashim Ansari in the Ayodhya case, said: "This matter is very old and the issue cannot be resolved in two months."
Iqbal Ansari said that an eventual decision should be such that brings peace in the country
Swami Satyendra Das, the main priest at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, said the mediation team had submitted its report in the Supreme Court which will decide on the matter.
Das told IANS: "The meditation team has spoken to all the parties and come to a conclusion and given it to the court. Now the court will decide on the matter." 
The top court had on March 8 set up a three-member committee headed by Kalifulla to mediate to find a possible settlement of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute.
The Kalifulla panel has Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Shriram Panchu as its other members.
The mediating is taking place at Faizabad, close to Ayodhya. 
While ordering mediation, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said: "We have considered the nature of the dispute arising. 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."
The other judges on the bench are Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.
While those representing the litigants for the temple had resisted the move, the Muslim litigants agreed to mediation as it was not at the expanse of the regular hearing on the batch of petition challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment.
While ordering mediation, the court barred both the print and visual media from reporting on the mediation proceedings.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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