NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case.
Interestingly, the composition of the Constitution bench, which will be led by Chief Justice of India (CJI)Ranjan Gogoi, will also have four future CJIs in line of seniority to hear the batch of appeals. Apart from the CJI, the bench comprising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the matter on January 10.
The composition indicates that the case would now be long-drawn as the CJI has chosen not to include the other two judges — Justices Abdul Nazeer and Ashok Bhushan — who were a part of the three-judge bench that heard the case earlier. The bench will be headed by CJI Gogoi.
On January 4, the court said further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”.As many as 14 appeals have been filed in the court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
A three-judge bench of the top court, by a 2:1 majority on September 27, 2018, 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 arose during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.