The Supreme Court on Wednesday will have a crucial hearing on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya to decide whether the politically sensitive case can be adjudicated through mediation.
The top court on February 26 had said it would pass an order on March 6 on whether to refer the matter to a court-appointed mediator.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had 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 S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A 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 apex 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.
"We would like to know your (both parties) views on it. We do not want any third party to make a comment to jeopardise the entire process," the bench had said.
While some of the Muslim parties agreed to the court's suggestion on mediation, some Hindu bodies including the Ram Lalla Virajman opposed it, saying several such attempts have failed in the past.
"Do you seriously think that the entire dispute for so many years is for property? We can only decide property rights but we are considering the possibility of healing relations," the bench had said.
The bench, which posted the main matter for hearing after eight weeks and directed its registry to provide translated copies of documents to the parties within six weeks to check their veracity, said it wanted to explore the possibility of mediation to utilise the time till the next date of hearing.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex 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 Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.