SC to constitute a separate bench on Ayodhya

The Supreme Court today has decided to constitute a separate bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case at Ayodhya and posted the case for January 10 for fixing the date of hearing.

“Further orders will be passed by an appropriate bench on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing the matter,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said.

The top court also dismissed a petition seeking to hear the Ayodhya matter on urgent and day to day basis. The PIL was filed by an advocate Harinath Ram in November 2018.

No sooner the matter came up, the Chief Justice said it is the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case and went ahead with passing the order. Senior advocates Harish Salve and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for different parties, did not even get the opportunity to make any submission. The The hearing did not even last 30 seconds.

On December 24, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had decided on ‘fixing the date of hearing before the appropriate bench.’ On the same day, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the central government wants the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit to be heard on day to day basis in the court.

The Supreme Court was hearing as many as 14 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgement of 2010 that ordered partition of the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The appeals have been pending in the Supreme Court since 2010.

During the hearing, several other issues came up for adjudication, including if a mosque was an integral part of Islam.On September 27 last year, a three-judge bench had 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. Various Hindutva organisations, including the RSS, have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.

The hearing today 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. PM Modi’s comments came amidst heightened demands by Hindutva organisations, including the RSS, for an ordinance for early construction of the temple.

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