The Supreme Court Friday ordered a court-monitored mediation in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case to arrive at a "permanent solution" to the politically and religiously sensitive issue.
The five-judge constitution bench appointed a panel of 3 mediators in the title suit with Retired Justice Kalifullah chairing the court-appointed and monitored mediation process. The other two members are spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
All three panel members hail from Tamil Nadu and have been asked to hold the proceedings in Faizabad by the apex court ensuring full confidentiality. The mediation process will start in one week and the status report of the mediation committee will have to be completed in four weeks with 8 weeks deadline to conclude the hearing.
1. Retired Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla: Justice Kalifulla started his law practice in Chennai. He was appointed Madras High Court judge in 2000. He was named as the Chief Justice of High Court of Jammu & Kashmir in 2011. He was later elevated to the Supreme Court in the year 2012.
The retired SC judge has delivered landmark judgments in a lot of cases, one of them related to inclusion of Vedic astrology as a scientific study course in Indian universities. Justice Kalifulla retired from the Supreme Court in 2016. He was also instrumental in providing valuable insights by suggesting a way forward in the BCCI case.
Talking to reports on the top court's decision to appoint him on the mediation panel, Justice Kalifulla said, "I'm yet to receive order copy. I can say if committee has been constituted we'll take every effort to resolve the issue amicably."
Justice(Retd)FM Ibrahim Kalifullah on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case: I understand SC has appointed a mediation committee headed by me. I'm yet to received order copy.I can say if committee has been constituted we'll take every effort to resolve the issue amicably pic.twitter.com/AgSfBzfuGU- ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2019
2. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Founder of Art of Living foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu and has made a lot of controversial statements about the Ayodhya case in the past. The spiritual guru in early 2018 had tried his hands at an out of court settlement in the matter by holding talks with leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities.
He had advised Muslims to give up their claim on the contested land saying the land is Lord Ram's birthplace and doesn't hold much importance for them.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board however dismissed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's proposal.
Causing a stir again Friday, the spiritual guru said that India will become Syria if Muslims do not give up their claim on the disputed site in Ayodhya. His appointment to the mediation panel might raise a few eyebrows due to his unflinching stand on the case.
Taking to his Twitter handle about the apex court's decision today Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tweeted, "Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals. #ayodhyamediation"
Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals.#ayodhyamediation- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 8, 2019
3. Sriram Panchu- Senior Advocate and an expert mediator, Sriram Panchu has been mediating cases since 1990s. He founded The Mediation Chambers, India's first such centre in 2005 and is also on the board of the International Mediation Institute (IMI) as a director.
Panchu is regarded instrumental in making mediation a part of Indian legal system. The senior advocate had in the past been appointed by the Supreme Court to mediate a 50 year old boundary dispute between the Assam and Nagaland.
After being selected to be in the mediation panel today, Panchu said, "It is a very serious responsibility given to me by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. I will do my best."