A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday, 4 February, challenging the constitutional validity of the 1993 Central law on land acquisition in Ayodhya, near the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
Earlier on 3 February, BJP President Amit Shah had termed the Modi government's move to return the excess land around the disputed site in Ayodhya to their owners "historic".
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and right-wing outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Tuesday, 29 January, welcomed the Centre’s move to approach the Supreme Court for returning undisputed land around Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya to the owners. However, the Nirmohi Akhara disapproved the move and said politics was at play in this matter.
- The central government in 1991 had acquired the 67 acre-land around the disputed site
- The Centre seeks for a modification of the Supreme Court order dated 31 March 2003, which had said the status quo must be maintained for the entire area
- The Centre notes that it will ensure whoever eventually gets the title for the disputed land will be given access to the site
- Earlier, the apex court had ordered that the status quo be maintained with regard to the acquired 67 acre of land around the disputed site
- The hearing of the Supreme Court, scheduled for 29 January, was deferred as Justice SA Bobde was not available
- The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi includes Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan , Abdul Nazeer and SA Bobde
The Significance of the Hearing
Various Hindutava organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.
The hearing on Friday assumes importance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 1 January, suggested any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process.
"Let the judicial process take its own course. Don't weigh it in political terms. Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts," the prime minister said during an interview, broadcast by several TV channels.
Bench Likely to Constitute Three-Judge Bench
The matter is listed before a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul.
The bench is likely to constitute a three-judge bench for hearing as many as 14 appeals filed against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, 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 29 October, had fixed the matter in the first week of January before an "appropriate bench", which will decide the schedule of hearing.
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.
A three-judge bench of the top court had on 27 September, by 2:1 majority, refused 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. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
What is the SC Going to Decide Today?
- Date of the final hearing of the Ayodhya dispute title suit.
- Whether the case needs day-to-day hearings.
- Constitution bench for final hearing in the suit.
SC Bench Assembles at Courtroom Number 1
The Supreme Court bench has reportedly assembled for hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case happening at courtroom number one.
SC Defers Hearing in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Title Dispute Case to 10 Jan
The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case to 10 January, when it is expected to decide on the constitution of the bench to hear the Ayodhya matter.
Hearing Lasts for a Minute, Doesn't See Arguments from Either Side
During the hearing in the Ayodhya matter on Friday, 4 January, the bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul was quoted to have said, “This is the Ram Janmabhoomi case? Further orders will be passed by an appropriate bench on 10 January for fixing the date of hearing the matter.”
The hearing on Friday continued for a mere 30 seconds and did not see any arguments from either side.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for different parties, did not get the opportunity to make any submission.
SC's Constitution Bench to Hear Ayodhya Case on 10 Jan
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has set up a five-judge Constitution bench to hear Ayodhya case on 10 January.
The bench will be led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Other four judges are Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice UU Lalit and Justice DY Chandrachud.
Previously, on 27 September, the Supreme 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, reported Economic Times. The court had on 27 September also said the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a three-judge bench on 29 October.
Security Beefed Up Outside Supreme Court
Security has been beefed up outside the Supreme Court ahead of the hearing on Ayodhya case by a five-judge Constitution bench.
SC Bench Begins Hearing
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court begins hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case.
No Hearing Today, Only Date and Schedule to be Decided
The Supreme Court said there will be no hearing on the Ayodhya case today. Only the date and schedule will be decided.
Justice UU Lalit Recuses Himself From Constitution Bench
Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing the Ayodhya case after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that the judge had appeared for Kalyan Singh in a related matter, Live Law reported.
CJI Gogoi said that Justice Lalit expressed the desire to recuse himself from hearing the matter as it would not seem appropriate to continue hearing the case, even though the merits of the Ayodhya case were unrelated.
Hearing Adjourned in Ayodhya Case
Ayodhya land dispute hearing adjourned after Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing the case. A new bench will be constituted to hear the case, according to ANI.
Case to be Heard Next on 29 January
Supreme Court has fixed 29 January as the next date of hearing in the Ayodhya Case.
SC Registry To Give Report on Case Documents
Supreme Court registry will need to give a report on by when will all documents be translated and the case be ready for hearing, ANI reported.
CJI Reconstitutes Bench for Ayodhya Case
The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday, 25 January 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.
SC to Not Hear Ayodhya Case on 29 January
The Supreme Court will not hear the Ayodhya land dispute case on 29 January due to the non-availability of Justice SA Bobde, ANI reported on Sunday, 27 January.
Centre Moves SC, Demands Return of Undisputed Ayodhya Land to Owners
The Centre on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking its permission to return the non-disputed part of the 67 acres of land, acquired by the central government around the disputed site in 1993, to the owners/occupiers.
The plea has reportedly been filed on the basis of a request by the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas – a trust formed by the VHP in 1993 to promote construction of a Ram Temple – which has said that the land should be returned by the government to the original owners since no purpose is served by the Centre holding the land while being unable to do anything with it.
Step in the Right Direction: VHP Welcomes Centre's Move
The VHP Tuesday welcomed the Centre's writ petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to return 67-acre land around the disputed site in Ayodhya to its original owners, saying the step was in right direction.
"This land belongs to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and is not under any litigation. This is a step in right direction and we welcome it," VHP's international working president Alok Kumar said.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath Welcomes Move
UP CM Yogi Adityanath welcomed the move by the Centre and said that permision must be given to use the undisputed land.
“We welcome the move by the Centre. We have been saying that we should get permission to use the undisputed land,” he said.
Much Awaited Move: Ram Madhav
BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav said that the centre’s move was a much awaited one and that the the land in question belongs to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.
“A much awaited decision because the land in question belongs to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. It was acquired in 1993 and has nothing to do with the central dispute. It's in the vicinity of the main disputed area. There is status quo ordered by SC, that’s why the government approached the court,” he said.
Centre's Plea a Legal Decision: Union Minister Javadekar
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar asserted that the Centre’s plea was a legal decision and that the BJP has maintained that the Ram temple must be built on Ram Janmabhoomi.
“BJP always maintained Ram temple be built on Ram Janmabhoomi. Whatever legal measure is required, BJP will try for that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clarified that people want temple but matter is sub-judice and measures will be taken accordingly. Today’s application is also a legal decision.”Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister
He said that the Congress always tries to block the legal process and that they don’t believe in Ram .
“Kapil Sibal's argument of allotting a date for hearing in the matter only after July 2019 is evident to that. They don't believe in Ram. The affidavit submitted by the then Congress government on Ram Setu called it imaginary,” Javadekar said.
VHP Backs Govt's Move on Ram Mandir Issue, Nirmohi Akhara Disapproves
Differences have arisen between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’s Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and the Nirmohi Akhara over the government’s move to approach the SC to let it release the undisputed land of 67.7 acres in Ayodhya to its original owners.
While the former praised the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mahant Dinendra Das of Nirmohi Akhara told The Economic Times, “Politics is being played over the issue yet again. This could spoil communal harmony. Why not await and accept the SC judgement? It is the Nirmohi Akhara which has claim over the actual Ram Janmabhoomi land and it is we who have to build the temple there. What has VHP got to do with it?”
Govt’s Move to Return Excess Land in Ayodhya to Owners “Historic”: Shah
BJP chief Amit Shah Sunday, 3 February, described as "historic" the Modi government's move to return the excess land around the disputed site in Ayodhya to their owners, including the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, and asked opposition parties not to put obstacles in the Ram temple issue's resolution.
Asked about the Ram temple issue at an event here, he told reporters that his party wants a grand temple of Lord Ram to be built at the very site, where he is believed to have born, at the earliest and dared opposition parties to make their stand clear on the matter.
He said the central government's plea in the Supreme Court to return the land is "historic".
It is believed that the return of the land, if allowed by the court, is likely to result in the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, which is dedicated to the construction of the temple, starting work on building it, giving a political boost to the BJP ahead of the parliamentary election as it has long championed the cause.