Announcing the formation of a new Constitution bench on January 29, the Supreme Court on Thursday said there will be no hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case for the day. Only the date and schedule will be decided, it said. Adding to the developments, Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing the case after advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that Justice Lalit had appeared for Kalyan Singh in the matter.
During a TV interview on January 1, 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.
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"Let the judicial process take its own course. Don't weigh it in political terms. Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts," Modi had said.
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Ayodhya land dispute hearing: Here’s what happened in court today
- There will be no hearing in the case on Thursday, the Supreme Court said, adding only the date and schedule will be decided
- Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, that Justice Lalit appeared for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in 1994
- Justice UU Lalit, who was part of a Constitution bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute, recused himself from the case, though Dhavan said he was not seeking Justice Lalit's recusal
- The bench, also comprising Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana and DY Chandrachud, noted the submissions made by Dhavan.
- CJI decided to set up fresh five-judge bench to hear Ayodhya case
- Dhavan drew the attention of the bench to the fact that the matter was earlier fixed for hearing before a three-judge bench, but the CJI took a decision to list it before a five-judge Constitution Bench. He further submitted that there was need for a judicial order to set up a five-judge Constitution bench.
- The CJI, however, quoted Supreme Court rules mandating that any bench should comprise two judges and there was nothing wrong in constituting a five-judge Constitution bench.
- In its order, the bench said the apex court registry will physically examine the records stored in 50 sealed trunks in the room, which has also been kept sealed.
- The Supreme Court said the records pertaining to the matter are voluminous and some of the documents are in Sanskrit, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Gurmukhi that need to be translated.
- The top court rescheduled hearing in Ayodhya land dispute case for January 29, before a newly constituted bench
Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.
On September 27 last year, a three-judge bench of the top court by 2:1 majority refused to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench, in reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
The matter arose 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 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.
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