CJI, 4 future CJIs to hear Ayodhya appeals

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Jan 8: The Supreme Court has constituted a five judge bench to hear the Ayodhya case.

The notification says that the Bench will be headed by the present Chief Justice of India and four future CJIs in line of seniority to hear the Ayodhya appeals. The bench would comprise CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices, S Bobde, Ramanna, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.

Also Read | Now, eyes focused on constitution of bench for Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri dispute case!

The bench would fix a date to hear the appeals on January 10, the notification also said. On January 4, the SC had said that a newly constituted Bench would decide on the date of hearing. It would also decide if the case would be heard on a day to day basis.

The new Bench will hear 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 Supreme Court on October 29 had 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.

Also Read | Pending in SC, can government take ordinance route on Ram Temple?

Various Hindutva 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.

Also Read:

Rule of law the bedrock of democracy: Read full SC order in CBI vs CBI case

We will hear it on Jan 22 says SC on early hearing in Sabarimala matter

UP Deputy CM says, ordinance will be brought if the SC decision goes against the Ram Temple