A new five-judge Constitution Bench was constituted Friday in the Supreme Court to hear on January 29 the politically sensitive Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya.
The Supreme Court will hear the matter on January 29.
Justice Lalit decided to recuse himself from hearing the case after it was pointed out by advocate Rajeev Dhavan that Justice Lalit had appeared for Kalyan Singh government in 1997.
A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27, 2018, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench for reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
The five-judge bench hearing Ayodhya case
The five-judge bench hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case also consists of Chief Justice Gogoi, Justice SA Bobde, and Justice DY Chandrachud apart from Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer, who have been added to the Ayodhya bench today.
When the matter was last taken up on January 4, there was no indication that the case would be referred to a constitution bench as the apex court had simply said that further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”.
An application was moved for according an urgent hearing by advancing the date, but the top court had refused the plea, saying it had already passed an order on October 29 relating to the hearing of the matter. The plea for early hearing was moved by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) which is one of the respondents in the appeal filed by legal heirs of M Siddiq, one of the original litigants in the case.