The Ayodhya mediation settlement, which was agreed by some of the parties to amicably resolve the Ayodhya dispute, cannot be treated as binding as it was conditional on certain stipulations being fulfilled, the Supreme Court said on Saturday.
The apex court had appointed a mediation panel comprising its former judge Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu to explore the possibility of bringing about a permanent solution to the issues raised in the appeals.
On October 16, when final arguments were concluded in the appeal, the panel filed its report in the court titled “Final Report of the Committee’’ stating that a settlement had been arrived at by some of the parties to the present dispute.
Though under the settlement, the Sunni Central Waqf Board had agreed to relinquish all its rights, interests and claims over the disputed land, this was subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions stipulated.
“The settlement agreement received by this court from the mediation panel has not been agreed to or signed by all the parties to the present dispute. Moreover, it is only conditional on certain stipulations being fulfilled. Hence, the settlement cannot be treated to be a binding or concluded agreement between the parties to the dispute,” the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said in its 1,045-page judgement.
“We, however, record our appreciation of the earnest efforts made by the members of the mediation panel in embarking on the task entrusted by this Court. In bringing together the disputants on a common platform, the mediators have performed a function which needs to be commended.
“We also express our appreciation of the parties who pursue the mediation proceedings,” the bench said.
The court had on February 26, referred the parties to the court-appointed mediation and on March 8, the panel of mediators was constituted.