New Delhi: Amid rising pressure on the newly formed Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh to fulfil its long-term promise and build Ram Temple at the site where once existed the 17th century Babri Masjid, the Supreme Court of India called for consensus to end the dispute.
Terming the dispute a matter relating to religion which is "sensitive" and "sentimental", the highest court of the country said fresh attempts must be made by all parties concerned to find a solution through negotiations.
The Supreme Court also 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 headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar and comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said.
The observations came after BJP 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, according to PTI.
The bench also asked Swamy to consult the parties and inform it about the decision on March 31.
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 17th century Babri Masjid was levelled to ground by Hindutva extremists who were led by the BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders on December 06, 1992.
The Supreme Court on March 06 indicated that LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and other BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders may face trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The court also came up with the option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
"There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can't we club both the cases and have a joint trial," a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.
"We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet," the bench said.