SC five-judge Constitution Bench to hear Ayodhya land title dispute case on Jan. 10

Source: The Hindu | Published on 9th January 2019, 12:03 AM | National News |

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday notified that a five-judge Bench consisting of incumbent Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and the next four future Chief Justices of India in line of seniority will hear the Ayodhya title dispute appeals on January 10.

The Bench, besides Chief Justice Gogoi, would have Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud. On January 10, this Bench would decide the future dates for hearing the appeals.

On January 4, a two-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi had observed that an "appropriate Bench" would take up the appeals on January 10.

The Ayodhya appeals were previously heard by a combination of three judges led by Chief Justice Gogoi’s immediate predecessor in office, Justice Dipak Misra, who retired on October 2, 2018.

The Bench led by Justice Misra had, in a majority judgment, on September 27 declined a plea made by Islamic bodies and individuals to refer the question as to whether prayer in a mosque is an essential part of Islam to a seven-judge Constitution Bench.

The majority verdict, in its last paragraph, had further directed the Supreme Court to start hearing the pending from the week commencing October 29. This direction in the September judgment had also triggered questions whether the court intended to deliver a judgment in the appeals before the May 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In 2017, when the court had started to hear the appeals after a hiatus of over seven years, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had suggested it to adjourn the hearings to a date after the Lok Sabha elections.

The Ayodhya appeals have been filed against the September 30, 2010 decision of the Allahabad High Court to divide the disputed 2.77 acre area among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla.

The high court had concluded that Lord Ram, son of King Dashrath, was born within the 1,482.5 square yards of the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid premises over 900,000 years ago during the Treta Yuga.

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