Justice Kalifullah, mediation expert Sriram Panchu and spiritual guru Sri Sri to help settle dispute.
Chennai: The Supreme Court on Friday referred the decades old Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute case for mediation. The apex court constituted a three-member panel headed by Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifullah, a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
The other members of the panel are spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior Chennai advocate Sriram Panchu, coincidentally all are from Tamil Nadu with currently Bengaluru-based Sri Sri having been born in Papanasam, near Thanjavur in the state.
Born on July 23, 1951, Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah (68) is the son of late Justice M. Fakkir Mohamed. Hailing from Karaikudi at Sivagangai district in Tamil Nadu, Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah was enrolled as an advocate on August 20, 1975 and appointed as judge of the Madras high court on March 2, 2000.
During his tenure as a judge of the Madras high court, he rendered many landmark judgments. In one case relating to local body election, namely Chennai City Corporation, sitting in a division bench with Justice S.J. Mukopadhaya, he rendered a dissenting verdict holding that the election in respect of 99 wards was liable to be set aside. The matter was referred to a third judge, who confirmed the view of Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah. He was transferred to the high court of Jammu and Kashmir and assumed charge on February 24, 2011.
He was appointed as acting chief justice of high court of Jammu and Kashmir on April 7, 2011. He took oath as chief justice of high court of Jammu and Kashmir on September 18, 2011. He was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court of India on April 2, 2012 and retired on July 22, 2016. “We’ll make every effort to resolve the issue amicably,” he said on learning of his appointment to head the mediation panel.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (62) is a universally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader. In 1981, he established The Art of Living, an educational and humanitarian NGO, which works in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He has visited Sri Lanka four times since 2005 to resolve the crisis. His peace initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir focused among other things on healing the trauma of decades of militancy, facilitating dialogue between people from different ideological groups and improving the inhumane conditions in migrant camps. His visit to Jammu and Kashmir in 2006 culminated in a dialogue between leaders of several representatives of the Kashmiri Pandits.
Taking to Twitter soon after the mediation panel announcement came from the top court, Sri Sri said, “Respecting everyone, turning dreams into reality. Ending long standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals.”
Senior advocate Sriram Panchu (69) is a leading internationally recognised Indian mediator. After completing his B.L. from Government Law College in Mumbai, Sriram Panchu started practicing in 1976 at the Madras high court. He was designated as a senior advocate in 1996 and specialised in constitutional and commercial laws. For nearly 30 years, he has been in the forefront of mediation movement in India. He has been instrumental in bringing mediation into India’s dispute resolution system.
In 2005, he set up India’s first court-annexed mediation centre at the Madras high court and has gone on to assist the Supreme Court and other High Courts in this regard. He has also trained over 1,000 mediators while having mediated in a large number of complex and high value commercial disputes in India and abroad. He has been appointed by the Supreme Court to mediate significant public disputes including
the one pertaining to 60 year old border dispute between the States of Assam and Nagaland involving 500 sq.kms of land and a dispute within the Parsi community in Mumbai over a ban on priests.
Sriram Panchu is the President of the national association Mediators India. He is a Director of the International Mediation Institute and is on the panel of senior mediators of national and international institutions. “It is a very serious responsibility given to me by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. I will do my best,” he said.