The three-member Ayodhya mediation panel on Monday approached the Supreme Court with a request from 2 of the 16 parties to the land title dispute who wanted the mediation effort to continue even as the constitution bench of the top court holds daily hearings into the title suit.

The panel led by retired Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifulla told the top court last month that there had been no consensus on the dispute. A bench of five Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had resumed the hearings soon after.

The panel was set up in March by five judges of the top court to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement of the decades-old issue that was seen as an attempt to “heal relationships” between the two communities. The Uttar Pradesh government and most Hindu parties had opposed the initiative. But it was welcomed by the Muslim side.

Apart from Justice Kalifulla as the chairman, the mediation panel was assisted by two members – lawyer Sriram Panchu and Art of Living founder and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

In its application, the mediation panel has told the top court that it had received written requests from two parties; one from the Hindu side, Nirvani Akhara, and the second, Sunni Wakf Board, for resumption of mediation.

The mediation panel is learnt to have asked the Supreme Court for a decision on the two requests, stressing that these requests do not imply that the day-to-day proceedings would have to be stopped for the panel to give negotiations a shot.

The top is hearing petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order that trifurcated the 2.77-acre-site between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Central Waqf Board, and Ram Lalla [the child deity].

The five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and justices S A Bobde, Ashok Bhushan, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer has held day-to-day hearings for 23 days. Today was the 24th day.
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