Days after Ramlalla Virajman, one of the three main parties to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, told the Supreme Court that they would not participate in the mediation process, the side arguing for the mosque has also turned down an invitation by the Supreme Court-appointed mediators.
After C S Vaidyanathan, the advocate for Ramlalla Virajman, told the court on September 30 that they “were not participating” in the mediation, the mediators wrote a letter on October 2 to Ejaz Maqbool, one of the advocates-on-record arguing for the Mosque, asking for a meeting in Delhi on October 8.
But the Mosque side conveyed to the mediators that they were “busy” with the proceedings in Court.
The Indian Express has learnt that the Mosque side has also asked mediators to clarify “who” had initiated these meetings. They also sought clarification on whether there was a counter-proposal to a concrete proposal put forward by the Mosque side in March this year, which was a plan for coexistence of a mosque and a temple at the site.
The side representing the temple did not agree to discuss the plan and did not make an offer of its own either, which led to the mediation process being deemed “failed”.
Advocates refused to comment on the matter and none of the mediators could be reached.
The mediation team, led by Former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court F M I Kalifullah, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, received a lease of life when two of the parties Zufar Farooqi, Chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board and Dharam Das, of the Nirvani Akhara, wrote to the mediators asking for a resumption of the process and the mediators, in turn, wrote to the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the matter.
On September 18, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi allowed the mediation process to resume simultaneously along with the arguments. He also asked for all arguments before the apex court to be concluded by October 18.
The mediation had been initially suggested by the Supreme Court on March 8. On May 7, the mediators submitted a report saying that they were making “progress”. The deadline set for mediation was August 15, but on July 11, the Supreme Court asked the Kalifulla-led team to wind up and conclude the discussions by July 29, wherein the mediation was deemed to have “failed”.
However, as reported by The Indian Express, the mediation did have its moments when some breakthrough seemed possible, particularly when the Mosque side advanced a proposal early on.