A general view of the Supreme Court after the Ayodhya hearing was rescheduled to January 29. Photo: Aashish Aryan
Ayodhya case: The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred the Ayodhya title dispute case to January 29, saying the five-judge bench that was to hear the case will be reconstituted as Justice U U Lalit recused himself.
The apex court took the decision after senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties, told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that Justice Lalit in 1997 appeared for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in one of the matters related to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute.
Singh is currently the Rajasthan Governor.
Soon after, Justice Lalit conveyed to Chief Justice Gogoi and other members of the bench — Justice S A Bobde, Justice N V Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrchud — of his reluctance to continue on the bench and recused himself.
The court, thereafter, directed its registry to go through all the records relating to the Ayodhya case which are available with it and submit a report by January 29 as to how much time it would require for translating the documents and the case material which are in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Gurmukhi languages.
However, when senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for one of the Hindu litigants, offered to assist the registry in the handling of the papers and their translations, Chief Justice Gogoi said that he will rely entirely on his own registry to do the job.
Protests near Pragati Maidan metro station in front of one of the SC gates
Supporters of Ram Mandir raise slogans
Supporters of Ram Mandir raise slogans
Supreme Court fixes January 29 as the next date of hearing
A new bench to be constituted
Justice U U Lalit recuses from Ayodhya Bench as Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan points out that he appeared for Kalyan Singh in a related matter
CJI Gogoi says that Justice Lalit expressed the desire to recuse from hearing the matter, as it would not seem appropriate for him to continue in the bench, although the merits of the case is unrelated to contempt case
Justice U U Lalit recuses himself from Constitution bench after one of the petitioner points out he had appeared for the then UP CM Kalyan Singh as a lawyer in the case
Justice Lalit had appeared for Kalyan Singh in a criminal case related to Ayodhya issue
Supreme Court says no hearing today, only date and schedule to be decided
"That is why, to say that Ram was born here and we will make the temple here only and will demolish the Babri Mosque for that.. . Is it wrong to have faith in Allah for a Hindustani," he said.
"Make the temple by all means, if you want to. But how can you say 'Mandir wahin banayenge' (we will make the temple there only). Dashrath (Lord Ram's father) was a great king and his palace had more than 10,000 rooms, it is believed. Who knows which room was where?" Aiyar had asked
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday questioned people's rationale of insisting on making the Ram temple at a specific location and asked them how they knew where exactly Lord Ram was born.
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Modi's comments had come 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 had said during an interview, broadcast by several TV channels.
Recently, 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.
Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site
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 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.
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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Learn more about the Bench hearing the Ayodhya case
The newly set up five-judge bench comprises not only the incumbent CJI but the four judges who are in line to be CJI in the future.
Justice Gogoi's successor would be Justice Bobde followed by Justices Ramana, Lalit and Chandrachud.
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".
What happened the last time SC took up the issue?
A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27 last year, 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.
Who will hear the case?
The bench will be headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprise of Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.
Good morning, readers. As a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear to the Ayodhya case today, stay tuned with us for LIVE updates on it