CJI reconstitutes Ayodhya bench to include justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer; case to be heard on 29 January

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday reconstituted the Constitution Bench hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case.

According to ANI, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer have now been included in the bench. The case will be heard on 29 January.

Justice UU Lalit, who was earlier part of the bench to hear the case, had on 10 January recused himself, prompting the Supreme Court to reschedule the hearing on 29 January by setting up a fresh bench.

CJI reconstitutes Ayodhya bench to include justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer; case to be heard on 29 January

Representational image. PTI

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, had told a bench headed by CJI Gogoi that Justice Lalit appeared for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in 1994.

Though Dhavan had said he was not seeking recusal of Justice Lalit, the judge opted out of hearing the matter.

The new bench will hear a batch of cross petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Ayodhya issue. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had divided the disputed land in Ayodhya into three parts for each of the parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The apex court on 29 October last year had fixed the matter in the first week of January before the "appropriate bench". 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 29 October relating to the hearing of 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.

Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested that any decision on an ordinance on Ram Temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process. Modi's comments had come amidst heightened demands by Hindutva 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 had said during an interview.

With inputs from PTI


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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 19:11:09 IST

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