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Sunni Central Wakf board offers a surprise settlement in Ayodhya case

The Sunni Central Wakf board is spearheading the Muslim claim over the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya. The offer has been conveyed to the top court by the court mandated mediation panel.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 06.50 PM IST
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Ayodhya-
Any offer will have to be accepted by all the other parties, among others the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court hearing in the Ayodhya case was overshadowed by a sudden development on the mediation front -- an offer of a settlement made by the Sunni Central Wakf board which is spearheading the Muslim claim over the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya.

The offer has been conveyed to the top court by the court mandated mediation panel. Any such offer will have to be accepted by all the other parties, among others the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity Ram Lalla Virajman. The akhara had boycotted the mediation.

The akhara and the 'next friend of the deity' - former Allahabad HC judge Deoki Nandan Agarawal - are both seeking sole possession of the land. The akhara will only concede the rights of the next friend if its shebaiti - traditional servitor right -is accepted.

Any such settlement will have to be vetted by the top court otherwise it may not be binding on all parties to the mediation. The top court will also need to formally permit the board to withdraw.

Sources said on the condition of anonymity that the offer was only by a board faction and not the whole board. Even if the board were to withdraw, there are other parties on the Muslim side. Hence the appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court order do not all cease to exist.

There were many dramatic developments in court today during the last day of the hearing.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi permitted all other players in the case individuals and organisations such as the Mahasabha as also the Shia board which claims it owns the land and would give it away to the Hindus for a ram temple.

Board senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan protested against such last minute submissions. He said he wanted to throw them away. He later clarified that the CJI told him that he could tear them if he wanted.

That was a mandamus (court order), he later said citing legal advice from senior advocate Arvind Datar. The Akhara and the Sunni Central Wakf board also made their last day submissions. Dhavan is still on his feet.

A five judge bench led by CJI Gogoi is hearing appeals and cross appeals against the 2010 judgement which had divided the land between the Hindus and Muslims in a 2:1 ratio.

The partition was made in such a way that the inner courtyard on which the now demolished masjid's dome stood went to the hindus. A judgement will have to come before CJI Gogoi demits office on Nov 17, 2019.

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