The Supreme Court is set to hear a batch of petitions in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case on Friday. The matter is listed before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul.
Now the top court is likely to constitute a three-judge bench for hearing as many as 14 appeals filed 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.
The apex court had on October 29 fixed the matter in the first week of January before an "appropriate bench", which will decide the schedule of hearing.
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 on 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.
A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of 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.
Various Hindutava organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.
The hearing on Friday assumes importance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday suggested any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process.
Modi's comments came amidst heightened demands by Hindutava organisations, including the RSS, for an ordinance for an early construction of the temple.
"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," the Prime Minister said during an interview, broadcast by several TV channels.
FULL VIDEO: SC set to hear Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case on Friday