Five-judge Constitution Bench set up by SC to hear Ayodhya land dispute case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case, on
Tuesday. Headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the bench will also comprise of Justices SA Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.

“Take notice that the following matters (petitions in the Ayodhya land dispute) will be listed on Thursday the 10th January, 2019 at 10.30 AM in Chief Justice’s court before the constitution bench comprising the Chief Justice, S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Uday Umesh Lalit and Dr D Y Chandrchud, JJ,” said a notice, uploaded on the apex court’s website.

On January 4, the SC had said that further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”.

As many as 14 appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On October 29, 2018 the SC had fixed the matter in the first week of January before the “appropriate bench”. Later, an application by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) was moved for 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.

A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27 last year, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site. But recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process.

(With inputs from PTI)