The Supreme Court on Monday turned down requests from the Uttar Pradesh government for early hearing in the Ayodhya case and said it will decide on the bench to hear the case in January next year.
A bench led Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph constituted the bench on Monday, nearly a month after ruling that there was no need to look into the top court’s observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
The Allahabad High Court had ordered trifurcation of the disputed site between the Nirmohi Akhada, Ram Lalla (the deity which is a party in the case through a legal representative) and the Sunni Muslim Waqf Board in September 2010. The decision was immediately challenged in the top court.
Hindus believe the 16th-century mosque, Babri Masjid, was built over a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram, whose birthplace is also considered to be at the site. The mosque was demolished by a mob of thousands in 1992, triggering a cycle of violence and riots across India.
The top court on September 27 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 has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.