SC to take up Ayodhya dispute on Thursday

SC to take up Ayodhya dispute on Thursday

The Supreme Court's Constitution bench would on Thursday take up the matter pertaining to Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justice S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud, all the four future chief justices, may determine the future course of hearing in the 70-year-long suit.

The bench was set up on Tuesday. Notably, the order to refer the matter to a Constitution bench was passed on administrative side by the CJI.

This was in contrast to the September 27 judgement by a three-judge bench presided over by then CJI Dipak Misra which by a majority view of 2:1 declined to set up a larger bench.

However, it is understood that the CJI exercised his administrative power as the master of roster to set up the Constitution bench.

It is to be seen how the parties to the dispute would respond to the decision.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a recent interview, said the government would wait for the judicial process before taking any decision on the subject. Saffron organisations had repeatedly clamoured for passing a law or issuing an Ordinance to ensure construction of Ram temple in view of inordinate delay in the apex court's decision.

A batch of appeals have been pending before the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, which ordered that the 2.77 acre land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On September 27, the Supreme Court by a majority view of 2:1 rejected the demand by the Muslims side to refer the matter to a larger bench for a reconsideration of a 1994 verdict which held a "mosque is not an essential part of the practice of Islam". The Muslim sides had contended that the previous judgement would have an adverse impact on adjudication of the matter.

The Hindu sides, supported by the Uttar Pradesh government, had described the plea for reference to the larger bench as a delaying tactics made to stave off the determination of the dispute.