Supreme Court constitution bench to hear Ayodhya matter on Feb 26
The Supreme Court will begin hearing the Ayodhya case on February 26. The five-judge bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will hear the Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute matter at 10.30am.
Besides the CJI, the other judges on the bench are Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
The hearing of the Ayodhya title suit case was deferred on January 27 following the non-availability of one of the five judges on the constitution bench, Justice S A Bobde.
The constitution bench will hear the appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The Ayodhya matter has been pending before the top court since 2010. Last year, a bench led by the then chief justice Dipak Misra had indicated that the dispute would be heard on a day-to-day basis.
But it then had to adjudicate upon a preliminary issue raised by Muslim parties who demanded that the Supreme Court first constitute and decide the question as to whether a mosque was an integral part of Islam. They wanted the court to revisit a 1994 judgment.
On September 27, the Supreme Court settled the question by rejecting the contention by a 2-1 majority and refused to refer the matter to a Constitution Bench. With CJI Dipak Misra’s retirement, a new bench had to hear the land dispute case.
On October 29, a bench led by current CJI Ranjan Gogoi fixed the case for the first week of January before the “appropriate bench”.
A delay in settling the Ayodhya dispute has led to demands for an ordinance, or executive order for the early construction of a majestic Ram temple on the disputed site.
In an interview, Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated that any decision on such an ordinance could be taken only after the completion of the judicial process.