The Supreme Court on Tuesday said fresh attempts must be made by all parties concerned to find a solution to the Ayodhya temple dispute which is a “sensitive” and “sentimental matter”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that such religious issues can be solved through negotiations and offered to mediate to arrive at an amicable settlement.
“These are issues of religion and sentiments. These are issues where all the parties can sit together and arrive at a consensual decision to end the dispute. All of you may sit together and hold a cordial meeting,” the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said.
The observations came after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy mentioned the matter seeking urgent hearing of the issue.
Swamy said that it has been over six years and the matter needed to be heard at the earliest.
The Rajya Sabha MP told the court that he had approached the Muslim community members who told him that judicial intervention was required to solve the matter.
“You must make fresh attempts to arrive at a consensual decision. If required, you must choose a moderator to end the dispute. If the parties wants me to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, am ready to take up the task. Even the services of my brother judges can be availed for the purpose,” the CJI said.
The top court said that it may also appoint a principal negotiator if the parties want.
The bench then asked Swamy to consult the parties and inform it about the decision on March 31.
On February 26 last year, the apex court had allowed Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya title dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at the site of the demolished disputed structure.
The BJP leader had earlier moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site and had mentioned it before a bench headed by the then Chief Justice T S Thakur for an urgent hearing.
In his petition, Swamy had claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing road, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched.
He had also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad high court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on September 30, 2010.
The BJP welcomed the Supreme Court’s suggestion and said aggrieved parties should keep in mind its ‘sensitivity’ while discussing the matter.
“The Supreme Court has called for an out-of-court settlement between the aggrieved parties. The parties should resolve the issue amicably by talking to each other.
“We welcome this step and I believe they should have talks outside the court,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said in New Delhi.
The party will study in detail the observations made by the apex court, which has said the issue is sensitive and sentimental and is related to faith of millions of people, he said.
BJP MP Vinay Katiyar also welcomed the Supreme Court’s view, saying there will be a ‘positive’ initiative now that the saffron party has a government in Uttar Pradesh.
Speaking to reporters, Katiyar added that the Yogi Adityanath government, which is barely two-day-old, should be given time to deal with the issue.
“It is a very good view that the Supreme Court has taken. Our party has a government in Uttar Pradesh. Now, there will be a positive initiative, which was negative until now.
“I think the problem will be solved. But the government is just two-day-old. It should be given time to deal with the issue,” Katiyar told reporters.
Wondering that ‘if the Ram Temple is not built here, would it be built in Pakistan’, Union minister Giriraj Singh said, “All (parties) should take the initiative now. Lord Ram is at the centre of faith of crores of Hindus. Muslims should also come forward, let there evolve a cordial atmosphere.”
“Will the temple be built in Pakistan or Bangladesh, if not in India? I am confident that the minorities will take the issue forward in a cordial manner,” he added.
Another Union minister Uma Bharti, who was associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi
Andolan in the 1990s, insisted that the issue of ownership of the disputed site be settled through talks. She said whosoever owned the land should proffer it to Lord Ram as a ‘gift’.
“There can’t be a bigger gift than this...we should arrive at a solution which will be remembered for thousands of years,” she said.
Bharti also suggested that a ‘huge’ Ram temple be built at the site on the lines of the Somnath temple in Gujarat.
The apex court said today that fresh attempts must be made by all the parties concerned to find a solution to the dispute which is a ‘sensitive and sentimental matter’.
RSS leader says issue should be resolved at the earliest
The Ayodhya issue should be resolved at the earliest and a temple built with the involvement of all Indians, a top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader said.
RSS functionary Dattatreya Hosabale said that the Hindutva outfit will support the decision taken by ‘Dharm Sansad’, which organised the Ram Janambhoomi movement.
"It (Ram temple issue) is to be decided by the Dharm Sansad as they are the people who organised the entire Ram Janambhoomi movement and the parties who went to the court.
"The RSS will not decide. The RSS will go by the Dharm Sansad’s decision. The issue should be settled at the earliest and a grand temple should be erected through the involvement of all Indians,"Hosabale said.
RSS Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya said a Ram temple at Ayodhya should be built either through dialogue or through a legislation.
"Ram temple should be constructed either through a dialogue process or a legislation," he said.