The Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute is not an issue of land but one of “sentiment and faith”, said the Supreme Court, which is hearing the case today.
Justice SA Bobde, one of the five senior judges hearing the case, said: “Don’t tell us about history, we also know history. We cannot undo who invades, what Babar may have done, who was king at the time, whether there was a mosque or temple…”
The top court will decide whether the politically sensitive case can be adjudicated through mediation.
As the Hindu Mahasabha, one of the petitioners, argued that “the public will not agree to mediation”, Justice Bobde said: “You are saying it will be a failure. Don’t pre-judge. We are trying to mediate.”
The Supreme Court on February 26 had said it would pass an order today on whether to refer the matter to a court-appointed mediator.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the contesting parties to explore the possibility of amicably settling the decades old dispute through mediation, saying it may help in “healing relations”.
Even if there is “one per cent chance” of settling the dispute amicably, the parties should go for mediation, the bench, also comprising Justices Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, had observed.
The suggestion for mediation was mooted by Justice Bobde, during the hearing when both the Hindu and the Muslim sides were sparring over the veracity of documents related to the case which were translated by the Uttar Pradesh government and filed with the top court registry.
“We are considering it (mediation) very seriously. You all (parties) have used the word that this matter is not adversarial. We would like to give a chance to mediation even if there is one per cent chance,” the bench had said.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.