During the hearing today, a five-judge bench of Supreme Court ordained that the Ayodhya case land disputes will be resolved and settled through mediation, and has appointed a bench of three mediators.

The decades old Babri Masjid – Ram Janmabhoomi case of 2.77 acre land dispute of Ayodhya will now be amicably settled through mediation – as directed by the Supreme Court today, March 8, 2019. The apex court has been favouring mediation since long, since the court believes that the dispute is not about “property, but mind, heart and healing – if possible” – and seeking mediation would possibly settle the case. The court also confirmed in previous hearings that a judicial order for the Ayodhya case will be used as the last resort, if settlement does not work out.

Hence, the five-judge Supreme Court bench appointed a three-member panel of mediators today and directed them to look into the case and try to resolve it. The mediator panel will be headed by former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifullah and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and mediation expert Sriram Panchu will be the other two members of the decision panel. The mediators will meet all the petitioners at Faizabad, which has to start within a week, and must be completed with the given time window of eight weeks.

The mediators can request co-opt of more mediators if needed, but the entire mediation session will be monitored by the Supreme Court. Also, the Uttar Pradesh government will be responsible to ensure security, confidentiality and legal assistance for the mediators – hence the media is likely to be completely barred during the proceedings. Although both factions have disagreed, the Supreme Court stated that it is aware of the “gravity and impact of the issue on public sentiment” and also on “body politics of the country”, but court-monitored mediation proceedings can give an “amicable settlement”.