A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will take up the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case on January 4, according to the list of cases to be heard by the top court. The top court had put off hearing the temple case in October, turning down requests for early hearings from the Yogi Adityanath government and others.
In the October order, the Supreme Court had also indicated that it would take up the case in early January to constitute the bench that would hold hearings into the land dispute. This bench, then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had underlined, would decide when and how the court would hear the case.
The ruling had triggered a sharp reaction from groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishadand the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – which had described the court ruling as an insult to the Hindu community.
This decision was seen to have opened the possibility that the court may not deliver its verdict before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections expected to be held around April-May.
The ruling BJP has been keen that the court quickly delivers its ruling on the 14 petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad high court decision that trifurcated the disputed site in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town between Hindus, Muslims and the representatives of the presiding deity, Ram Lalla, a petitioner.