Ayodhya dispute: CJI to set up fresh 5-judge bench; next hearing on Jan 29

SC said there is no hearing today, only date and schedule to be decided on contentious Ayodhya land title dispute case.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said there is no hearing today, only date and schedule to be decided on the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case.

Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing the case after advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that Justice Lalit had appeared for Kalyan Singh in the related matter.

The Supreme Court added that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will have to set up a fresh five-judge bench to hear Ayodhya case.

The top court fixed January 29 as the next date of hearing.

The CJI said in view of the facts and circumstances of the matter and the voluminous records pertaining to it, this was a fit case for constituting a five-judge bench.

In its order, the bench said the apex court registry will physically examine the records stored in 50 sealed trunks in the room, which has also been kept sealed.

The top court said the records pertaining to the matter are voluminous and some of the documents are in Sanskrit, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Gurmukhi that need to be translated. If required, the apex court registry can take the service of official translators, the bench said.

On September 27 last year, a three-judge bench of the top court by 2:1 majority refused to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter arose during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

(With PTI inputs)

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