The Supreme Court on Friday extended till August 15 the time for a panel of mediators, headed by former apex court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla, to explore an amicable solution to the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute at Ayodhya.
A five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that they have received the report from Justice Kalifulla in which the panel has sought extension of time till August 15 to complete mediation proceedings.
“If the mediators are optimistic about the result and are seeking time till August 15, what is the harm in granting time? This issue has been pending for years and years. Why should we not grant time,” the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the parties. The counsel appearing for both the Hindu and Muslim parties expressed confidence over the ongoing mediation proceedings and said they are fully cooperating with the process.
Timeline of Ayodhya dispute:
*1528: Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.
*1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. Court rejects plea.
*1949: Idols of Ram Lalla placed under a central dome outside the disputed structure.
*1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
*1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files suit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols.
*1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.
*1981: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
*February 1, 1986: Local court orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers.
*August 14, 1989: Allahabad HC ordered maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
*December 6, 1992: Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure demolished.
*April 3: ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for acquisition of land by Centre in the disputed area.
*1993: Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed at Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act.
*October 24, 1994: SC says in the historic Ismail Faruqui case that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
*April 2002: HC begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.
*March 13: SC says, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.
*March 14: SC says interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.
*September 30, 2010: HC, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
*May 9, 2011: SC stays HC verdict on Ayodhya land dispute.
*February 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in SC seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site
*March 21: CJI JS Khehar suggests out-of-court settlement among rival parties.
*August 7: SC constitutes three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
*August 8: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
*September 11: SC directs Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC to nominate two additional district judges within ten days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.
*November 20: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC temple can be built in Ayodhya and mosque in Lucknow.
*December 1: Thirty-two civil rights activists file plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
*December 5: The final hearings in the Ayodhya appeals begin before a Bench of Chief Justice of India (now retired) Dipak Misra, Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.
*February 8, 2018: SC starts hearing the civil appeals.
*March 14: SC rejects all interim pleas, including Swamy’s, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.
*April 6: Rajeev Dhavan files plea in SC to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.
*July 6: UP government tells SC some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict.
*July 20: SC reserves verdict.
*September 27: SC declines to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. Case to be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29.
*October 29: A three-judge Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi order the dispute appeals will be listed in January 2019 before an appropriate Bench to fix a date for hearing.
*January 4: A Two-judge CJI Bench again says an “appropriate Bench” will take up the appeals on January 10.
*January 8: SC notifies that a five-judge Bench led by the CJI and the next four future Chief Justices of India in line of seniority – Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud – will hear the Ayodhya title dispute appeals on January 10.
*January 10: The hearing remains a non-starter as Justice U.U. Lalit recuses himself from the Bench.
*January 29: Hearing deferred as Justice Bobde was on medical leave. Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer are replaced with Justices N.V. Ramana and U.U. Lalit.
*February 20: A Supreme Court circular informs that the Ayodhya Bench will assemble on February 26.
*February 26: The Supreme Court proposes a court-monitored mediation process between the Hindu and Muslim parties litigating the Ayodhya dispute. Gives eight weeks for the Muslim appellants to examine the official translation of Ayodhya case records.
*March 8: The Bench sends the Ayodhya dispute for mediation. The mediators are former apex court judge, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, as Chairman, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
*May 10: SC extends time till August 15 for mediation process in Ayodhya dispute