Ayodhya dispute: SC fixes next hearing on Feb 26

The Supreme Court on Wednesday fixed February 26 as the date for hearing the Ayodhya dispute related to Babri Masjid and Ram temple.

The matter has been scheduled for consideration on next Tuesday after Justice U U Lalit, one of the judges in five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi recused on January 10.

A new bench formed subsequently also could not take up the matter on January 27 after one of the judges, Justice S A Bobde was not available.

A notification issued by the Supreme Court's registry on Wednesday stated the bench of CJI and Justices Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer would assemble on February 26 to consider the 2010 appeals filed by M Siddiq and others.

Notably, the Union government has on January 29 filed an application for permission to restore the land, except the disputed portion on which Babri Masjid existed in Ayodhya, to Ram Janmabhumi Nyas and other original owners in order to allow them “proper access and enjoyment of rights”.

It has sought modification of the status quo order on a large portion of 67.7 acres of land around the structure. The Centre contended that out of the total land sought to be acquired, 42 acres should be returned to the original owner, Ram Janmabhumi Nyas. This would be other than the disputed structure on 0.313 acres of land, it said.

A similar plea by a group of individuals including two Lucknow lawyers challenging the constitutional validity of 1993 central law on land acquisition in Ayodhya near the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site has been referred to the Constitution bench on February 15.

On January 10, the top court has asked its Registry to physically inspect the records which are lying under lock and key and make an assessment of the time that will be taken to make the cases ready for hearing.

It had also sought to know if the records and documents which are in Persian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Gurumukhi, Urdu and Hindi, etc have been translated.

It also noted the Allahabad High Court's 2010 judgment ran into 4304 pages.

The High Court had on September 30, 2010 ordered for equal three-part division among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla, of the 2.77 acres including 0313 acres of plot where the Babri Masjid existed.

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Ayodhya dispute: SC fixes next hearing on Feb 26

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