Giving another chance for mediation, the Supreme Court Friday ordered setting up a three-member panel headed by a former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla to explore a possible settlement of the decades-old politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya. Spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, well known for his mediation experience, will be the other two members of the panel. Interestingly, all the three men appointed by the apex court hail from Tamil Nadu where the Ayodhya dispute does not have much resonance.
(1) Justice (retd) Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifullah -- Chairperson of the mediation panel
- Justice (retd) Kalifulla hails from Karaikudi in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu and is the son of former Madras High Court judge Justice M Fakkir Mohamed.
- He had retired as a Supreme Court judge on July 22, 2016.
- He was elevated to the apex court as a judge on April 2, 2012.
- Justice Kalifulla rendered many landmark judgments including on carrying out reforms in the BCCI and introduction of vedic astrology as a course of scientific study in Indian universities.
- He was appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on April 7, 2011 and later became the chief justice there on September 18, 2011.
(2) Sri Sri Ravishankar -- member of the mediation panel
- Sri Sri Ravishankar is a renowned spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation.
- He had earlier tried to mediate for settlement in the Ayodhya land dispute.
- He held meetings with Muslim leaders including members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara in the matter.
- In 2018, he had attempted an out of court settlement of the land dispute by holding talks with both Hindu and Muslim groups.
(3) Sriram Panchu -- member of the mediation panel
- Panchu, a senior advocate, is the founder of India's first court-annexed mediation centre in 2005 -- The Mediation Chambers -- in the Madras High Court.
- He has authored books on mediation, including a comprehensive manual -- Mediation: Practice and Law.
- Panchu has been mediating in crucial cases and in 2010, he was appointed as a mediator by the Supreme Court to resolve a long-standing boundary dispute between states of Assam and Nagaland.
- In 2011, the apex court had appointed him as a mediator to resolve the dispute involving performance of religious ceremonies in Parsi temples.
- He has formulated the course curriculum on 'Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice' for the Institute of Human Settlements, India, in association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
- He has also mediated international commercial disputes.