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CJI Ranjan Gogoi sets up new Ayodhya bench; case to be heard on Tuesday


New Delhi, Jan 25: The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday, 25 November reconstituted the bench to hear the Ayodhya land dispute case that will be heard on 29 January. The bench will now include Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer. The newly constituted Bench would decide on the date of the hearing and also whether the case would be heard on a day to day basis.

Ranjan Gogoi

On 10 January, Justice UU Lalit had recused himself from the five-judge Constitution Bench after senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that Justice Lalit had appeared for Kalyan Singh in a related matter.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had on September 27 last year, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench for reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam.

When the matter was last taken up on January 4, there was no indication that the case would be referred to a constitution Bench.As many as 14 appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The SC on October 29 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 October 29 relating to the hearing of the matter.

Various Hindutava organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.

The hearing on Tuesday assumes importance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier suggested any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process.

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