A new bench will now be constituted by CJI Ranjan Gogoi before the January 29 hearing
The Supreme Court of India (SC) on January 10 set the next date of hearing in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case as January 29.
A five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi along with Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud, heard the case on January 9.
The hearing was adjourned after Justice Lalit recused himself from hearing the case, according to news agency ANI. A new bench will now be constituted by the CJI before the January 29 hearing.
A three-judge bench of the top 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. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
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 the apex court had simply said that 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 apex 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 apex court 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.
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 Hindutava organisations, including the RSS, for an ordinance for an early construction of the temple.(With inputs from PTI)