Supreme Court bench to hear Ayodhya review petitions in chamber tomorrow

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The bench which will be headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, would also comprise of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S A Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna. (File photo)

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court would hear a batch of petitions in chamber on Thursday seeking review of its November 9 verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute. The apex court had ruled in favour of the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site and allocated an alternative five-acre plot to the Muslim side.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer, and Sanjiv Khanna, is likely to consider the question of whether or not the 18 review petitions should be heard in open court. Justice Khanna replaces former CJI Ranjan Gogoi in the five-judge bench.

Of these eighteen review petitions, nine are filed by those who were parties in the original matter. The other nine are filed by third parties, Bar and Bench reported.

On December 2, the first plea seeking review of Ayodhya verdict was filed in the apex court by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and also the Uttar Pradesh president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.

The last petition was filed by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, seeking review of the five-acre plot to the Muslim side. In their petition, the Hindu Mahasabha had stated that the allocation of land despite the Muslim parties failing to establish the "disputed structure" was a mosque, would violate the Constitutional principles of secularism.

On December 9, another petition was filed by 40 persons, including rights activists, who have jointly moved the court seeking review of its verdict. The petition by 40 persons, including historian Irfan Habib, economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik, activists Harsh Mander, Nandini Sundar and John Dayal, have said they ere "deeply aggrieved" by the verdict as it "errs in both fact and law".

In a unanimous judgment on November 9, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the entire disputed land be handed over to a trust to be constituted for construction of a Ram temple and that Muslims be given five acres of either the acquired land near the site or at “a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya” for building a mosque.

(with agency inputs)