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Ayodhya dispute: Supreme Court to decide on possibility of mediation on March 5



Ayodhya dispute

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Putting off regular hearing in Ayodhya case for eight weeks, the Supreme Court today (Tuesday, February 26) said it would explore the possibility of resolving the dispute through mediation one least time for “healing relations” by invoking Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

A call on whether a court-monitored mediation can be ordered is expected to be taken on March 5. The apex court said that even if one per cent chance of mediation exists in the politically sensitive land dispute matter, it should be done.

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench will decide upon hearing on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit after all the parties in the long-pending dispute agree on whether or not they are willing to accept the UP government’s translated version of nearly 38000 pages of documents – originally written in five different languages – related with the land dispute.

The Bench asked the registry to provide translated copies of all documents within six weeks and said the main matter would be taken up for hearing after eight weeks. It also directed the parties to examine translated copies and raise objections, if any, within eight weeks.

The Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, handed over copies of a report filed by the apex court’s secretary general and co-signed by four of its registrars detailing the status of documents, translations and records in the case.

CJI Gogoi informed counsels for all parties in the case that nearly 38000 pages of documents originally written in five different languages – English, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and Gurmukhi – had to be translated. In an earlier hearing of the case on January 10, the CJI had directed the Supreme Court registry to appoint official translators for the documents and also assess how much time it would take to complete the process of translations.

On Tuesday, as the matter came up for hearing again, the CJI asked all the competing parties in the case if they were willing to accept translations of the documents that have been provided by the Uttar Pradesh government. The translations have been provided to the court by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of UP.

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The CJI made it clear that the court would not want to commence with the hearing in the case if the correctness of the translations were in dispute. “Once we start hearing we don’t want anyone disputing the correctness of translations,” he said.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board, a key Muslim party in the case, informed the court that he had not examined the translated copies filed by the UP government and added that given the importance of the title suit, all aspects must be “looked into with the highest scrutiny.”

Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for Ram Lalla (the infant Lord Ram – also a petitioner in this case) disputed Dhawan’s contention, stating that the translations done by the UP government had been provided to all the parties in the case over a year ago and that the counsels had accepted these without any reservations back then.

Justice Bobe noted that if the translated copies given by the UP government had been accepted by all competing counsels then there was no need for the court’s registry to carry out fresh translations and regular hearing in the case may proceed at the earliest. With senior advocate Dhawan reiterating that he had not examined the translations provided by the UP government, Justice Bobde said perhaps there had been “some communication gap as the translations by the government of UP are ready but have not been checked” by Dhawan. He added that translations to be taken by the Supreme Court registry too are not yet ready for examination.

With Dhawan and Vaidyanathan disagreeing on whether translations by the UP government had been shared in advance with all parties and accepted by them, Chief Justice Gogoi said: “We are not going to waste our time if disputes are going to be raised over translations of documents.”

Justice Chandrachud then said that in the interest of expediting the proceedings, a middle ground may be explored. “If certain translated documents are acceptable, then the registry can proceed with translating only the disputed documents,” Justice Chandrachud said while asking Vaidyanathan to place on record any order or document which stated that the competing parties in the case had accepted the translations provided by the UP government without any objections.

Vaidyanathan then referred to page 12 of the top court’s 2017 order in the case, saying no objection on translation was raised back then and that “two years later they are coming up with this objection”.

Vaidyanathan and a counsel appearing for the Hindu Mahasabha reiterated that the counsels for the Muslim parties – Dhawan and senior advocate Dushyant Dave – were trying to delay the proceedings indefinitely. Vaidyanathan questioned the bona fides of Dhawan.

Dhawan retorted: “This isn’t a moment of acrimony. We are not adversarial. We are only trying to have the records presented before this Court. We want to argue the case and are prepared to do so.” Asked by the Chief Justice about how much time they would need to examine the translations, Dave replied that a time frame of 8 to 12 weeks would be required for the purpose.

Justice Chandrachud too pointed out that as of 2017, the exercise of translation of documents was incomplete and the parties had failed to reach a consensus before the Supreme Court Registrar. “It can’t be said that the parties have accepted the translated documents by default since they did not raise any objection (in 2017),” Justice Chandrachud observed.

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With the arguments heading nowhere and the commencement of regular hearing stuck on whether the voluminous translations can or cannot be agreed upon by all parties, Justice Bobde made a surprise suggestion – if another chance to should be given to resolve the decades-old dispute through mediation.

There seemed to be near unanimity among all the contesting claimants to the disputed land that mediation had already been tried and failed. While Dhawan added that his parties were willing to give mediation a try once again, he said the process can be initiated only if the Hindu parties in the case are clear on how to proceed.

Justice Bobde then remarked: “We are thinking of using Section 89 CPC for reaching a settlement between Hindu and Msulim parties,” adding that “even if there’s only a 1 per cent chance, it should be explored.”

Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure states:

“Where it appears to the Court that there exist elements of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, the Court shall formulate the terms of settlement and give them to the parties for their observations and after receiving the observations of the parties, the Court may reformulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for—

(a) Arbitration;

(b) Conciliation;

  1. c) Judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat; or

(d) Mediation

The Hindu parties in the case, however, made it clear that they did not favour resumption of mediation, insisting that all such efforts made in the past had failed to deliver the intended result.

Justice Bobde then said that the title suit should not be seen purely as a property dispute and that the court was trying for “healing relationships between the parties”.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for another Hindu party, agreed with Vaidyanathan and told the bench that mediation attempts in the past had failed and now “everyone wants the SC to decide the dispute”.

The court then allowed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to make a brief submission on an application he had moved in the court earlier this week seeking permission to exercise his fundamental right to practice his religion by offering prayers at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi site.

Though Dhawan objected to Swamy’s making submissions in the case on grounds that the BJP leader was not a party in the title suit, CJI Gogoi allowed the Rajya Sabha MP to proceed with his arguments. Swamy said any compromise in the case between the Hindu and Muslim parties must include “a minimum condition that Hindus will have a right to pray where Lord Ram was born”.

With no consensus on whether the parties in the suit are willing to accept the UP government’s version of the translated documents or willing to give mediation another chance, the bench adjourned the proceedings for another 6 weeks.

“We are of the view that translated documents such as exhibits and deposition should come on record.  Parties to examine translated documents and point out objections, agreements with the translated documents within 6 weeks,” the Chief Justice said. The court will, on March 5, examine the possibility of sending the matter for mediation once again.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Uttar Pradesh: Train climbs on platform at Mathura railway station, woman injured

Chief Public Relations Officer of North Central Railways, Himanshu Shekhar affirmed that a high level inquiry would be conducted into the unusual incident.



Mathura train accident

In a tragic incident, a train climbed on the platform at Mathura railway station. According to reports, a woman sustained minor injuries when a local train climbed onto a platform at the Mathura Junction Railway Station on Wednesday.

An official concerned to the matter asserted that the Railways has ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter. According to the official from Agra division, the electric multiple unit (EMU) train arrived on platform 2A from Shakurbasti at 10.50 pm on Tuesday. The official narrated that after all the passengers, including the crew, had deboarded, the train rolled down the track and climbed onto a platform before coming to a stop.

Divisional commercial manager and public relations officers for the Agra division of the North Central Railways said that a woman received an electric shock and no one else was injured in the incident. The woman has been identified as Usha Devi (39). She is from Jhansi. After the accident, she was taken to a hospital and administered first aid. Following that, she was sent to Jhansi. Reportedly, few trains on the upline were affected.

Chief Public Relations Officer of North Central Railways, Himanshu Shekhar affirmed that a high level inquiry would be conducted into the unusual incident. The movement of the trains on all platforms except platform 2A is normal, the officials mentioned. Earlier, train traffic was affected after an overhead equipment (OHE) snapped.

In another incident, a 12-year-old boy based out of West Bengal’s Malda transformed his red shirt into a flag to signal the loco-pilot about the broken track the train was heading to, averting a possible accident. Following, the pilot reacted immediately and applied the emergency brake. 

The incident took place last Sunday, close to the Bhakula road. Northeast Frontier Railway officials underlined that the boy waved his red shirt to an approaching train packed full of passengers after spotting a damaged track.  

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BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain suffers cardiac arrest, admitted to Lilavati Hospital

While giving information about the health of BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain, Doctor Jalil Parkar of Lilavati Hospital said that he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital after cardiac arrest. He told that Shahnawaz Hussain has suffered a heart attack. After this the doctors performed his angioplasty.



BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain suffers cardiac arrest, admitted to Lilavati Hospital

Former Union Minister and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain has suffered a heart attack. According to reports BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain suffered a cardiac arrest in the evening. After which he has been admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. Shahnawaz Hussain is the national spokesperson of BJP and he has also been the Industry Minister in Bihar Government.

While giving information about the health of BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain, Doctor Jalil Parkar of Lilavati Hospital said that he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital after cardiac arrest. He told that Shahnawaz Hussain has suffered a heart attack. After this the doctors performed his angioplasty.

He was one of the youngest Union Ministers in Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s Cabinet. The BJP leader held several portfolios, including Minister of State, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Coal, Minister of Civil Aviation and Minister of Textiles during Vajpayee regime.

Shahnawaz Hussain suffered a major setback when he had to face defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Earlier in 2006, BJP had brought him to Parliament through by-election. After the defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party did not even give tickets in the 2019 elections. The seat from which Shahnawaz Hussain contested was given to JDU by BJP. However, JDU was a part of NDA at that time.

In the 2020 assembly elections in Bihar, BJP had fielded Shahnawaz Hussain for the Legislative Council elections. Shahnawaz Hussain was successful in winning and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made him the Industries Minister. However, in 2022, BJP suffered a major setback when Nitish Kumar’s party JDU broke ties with NDA and formed the government with RJD.

 Shahnawaz Hussain, who once enjoyed power, is now seen in the role of opposition in the Bihar Legislative Council. Bihar is the home state of Shahnawaz Hussain and Supaul is his home district.

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Students hold protest in Manipur after photos of two dead students surface online

The protesting students tried to march towards Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s residence



Students hold protest in Manipur after photos of two dead students surface online

Hundreds of students took to the streets in Manipur’s capital, Imphal to protest against the brutal murder of two students by suspected armed men. The students demanded justice for the victims. According to reports, photos of two students, who apparently have been decapitated, have gone viral across the social media platforms.

The protesting students tried to march towards Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s residence, after which security forces used tear gas shells and smoke bombs in an effort to disperse the crowd. Reportedly, multiple students were injured and they were hurried to the hospital for medical treatment.  

The photos that have gone viral show two students, a 17-year-old girl and a 20-year-old boy, sitting at the grassy compound in what appears to be a makeshift jungle camp of an armed group.The girl is seen in a white shirt and the boy in a checked shirt holding a backpack. Behind them, two armed men were clearly visible. 

In the next viral photo, their bodies are seen slumped on the ground. According to reports, as the girl was a minor, officials concerned to the matter are looking into the allegations of rape, before she was murdered. 

Meanwhile, N Biren Singh led Manipur government has asked the people of the northeastern state to exercise restraint and allow authorities to investigate the kidnapping and killing of both the students. In a statement issued by the secretariat of Chief Minister N Biren Singh late on Monday night, the state government asserted that the case has been already handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 

In addition, the government also assured the public that swift and decisive action will be taken against all those involved in the crime. The statement further underlined that the government was committed to ensuring justice for the murdered students and severe punishment on any perpetrators found responsible for this heinous crime.

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