Justice UU Lalit recuses himself, SC's reconstituted bench to meet on January 29 to fix Ayodhya case hearing schedule

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the schedule for the hearing in Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case will be decided on January 29

Justice UU Lalit recuses himself, SC's reconstituted bench to meet on January 29 to fix Ayodhya case hearing schedule

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the schedule for the hearing in Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case will be decided on January 29, even as Justice UU Lalit recused himself from the case. It was pointed out by advocate Rajeev Dhavan that Justice Lalit had appeared in the Ayodhya case for Kalyan Singh government in 1997.

Earlier, a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and also comprising Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud was constituted to hear the matter. However, after the fresh development, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will now constitute a new bench that decide on a schedule and the frequency of hearings in the case when the issue is taken up 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 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

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".

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 is partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The apex court on October 29 last year had fixed the matter in the first week of January before the "appropriate bench".

Later, 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.

Here are the live updates:

# Supreme Court registry will need to give a report on by when will all documents be translated and the case be ready for hearing.

# SC gives January 29 as the next date after constituting a new bench.

Hearing adjourned after Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing the case. A new bench to be constitutedSupreme Court fixes January 29 as the next date of hearing https://t.co/AIQ6k0g20U — ANI (@ANI) January 10, 2019

# Muslim petitioners object to Constitutional bench set-up

Supreme Court says no hearing today, only date and schedule to be decided

# Five-judge Constitution bench of Supreme Court starts hearing in Ayodhya matter

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# Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.

# Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested that any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process. PM Modi's comments had come amidst heightened demands by Hindutva organisations, including the RSS, for an ordinance for early construction of the temple.