CJI Ranjan Gogoi reconstitutes Ayodhya bench; matter to be heard on January 29

The Supreme Court will hear the matter on January 29.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi reconstitutes Ayodhya bench; matter to be heard on January 29

Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Friday reconstituted the Ayodhya bench. In the new bench, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer has been included.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter on January 29.

Earlier, a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by CJI Gogoi, and also comprising Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud was constituted to hear the matter. 

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.

The Babri mosque which stood at the site was demolished in 1992.