Ayodhya’s Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute: Mediation for truth and reconciliation?


On March 8, 2019, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of India directed that the batch of appeals in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute be sent to a three-member mediation panel to explore the possibility of an amicable resolution.

While legally the dispute is in the nature of a conventional title dispute, nothing about the case is conventional. The case is a veritable crucible where history, religion, politics and law meet, and in the absence of a formal institutionalised mechanism in this country for truth and reconciliation, it falls upon courts of law to determine the truth and dispense justice. And yet, the Supreme Court has directed mediation in a dispute which has a recorded legal history of 164 years at the very least and has been pending before the Supreme Court since 2010.

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