SC to decide on Ayodhya land dispute hearings in January

The Supreme Court today said the civil appeals on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on the Allahabad High Court judgement will be listed before an appropriate bench in January 2019.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph ordered the Ayodhya land dispute case to be listed before an appropriate bench in the first week of January for fixing the date of hearing.
"We will fix the date of hearing of Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January," the CJI said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the UP Government, demanded that the case be taken up immediately after reopening of the court post-Diwali vacation. Senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan, representing Ram Lalla, too, demanded that the case be taken up in November itself.
Mehta told the court that the case was otherwise also a 100-year-old dispute, which should be taken up on a priority basis.
Now, a new Bench will be constituted to hear and decide cross-appeals against the 30 September 2010 order of the Allahabad High Court dividing the land equally between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni Wakf Board.
It is, however, appears highly unlikely that the Ayodhya land dispute verdict will be delivered before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Theapex court had declined to refer to a five-judge Constitution Bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam, which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
In a majority verdict of 2:1, a three-judge bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said the civil suit had to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict had no relevance to this issue.
Justice Ashok Bhushan, who had penned the judgment for himself and the Chief Justice, had said it had to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 verdict.
However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had disagreed with the two judges and had said whether a mosque is integral to Islam had to be decided considering religious belief which requires a detailed consideration.
The court had on 27 September said the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a three-judge Bench on 29 October.