Judge Not Available, Ayodhya Case Hearing Deferred

The Ayodhya case hearing has been deferred and won’t be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday as one of the judges in the five-judge Constitution bench will not be available, the additional registrar of the top court said in a circular.

Justice SA Bobde was among the five-judge Constitution bench that was scheduled to hear the Ayodhya case.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had earlier this week reconstituted the five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court to hear the politically sensitive Ayodhya case next Tuesday by adding two new judges to it.

The bench led by the Chief Justice will decide on a schedule and the frequency of hearings in the case. In the last hearing on January 11, Justice UU Lalit had recused himself from the bench after his impartiality was questioned as he had appeared in a related case for Kalyan Singh, one of the accused in Babri demolition case.

Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Ashok Bhushan were added on Friday; they were part of an earlier three-judge bench in the Ayodhya case when it was headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The other judge on the Constitution Bench is Justice DY Chandrachud. Justice NV Ramana, who was a part of the bench which last heard the matter on January 10, is not a member in the new bench.

The decision on the title suit, pending for six decades and at the heart of India’s most politically divisive row, comes amid demands to speed up the plan to build a Ram temple at the site where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed by Hindu right wing activists in 1992.

Members of the ruling BJP, some of its allies and right-wing groups want a special executive order or ordinance to enable the start of construction before the general elections are announced.

Last year, the Supreme Court refused an early hearing in the case. If the Supreme Court, however, decides on daily or frequent hearings in the case, it will be seen as a shot in the arm for those demanding a resolution to the issue before the Lok Sabha polls.

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