In an interesting development, the Chief Justice of India and son of Assam, Ranjan Gogoi decided to hear the decades-old vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on Thursday.

Chief Justice of India will head a five-judge bench to hear the Ayodhya case. The other four judges are Justice S A Bobde, Justice N V Ramana, Justice U U Lalit and Justice D Y Chandrachud.

The Constitution bench will hear a clutch of 14 appeals challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order of a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, giving a third each to the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and the Ramlalla Virajman, reports The Indian Express.

Notably, when the matter was taken up on January 4, there was no indication that the land dispute case would be referred to a constitution bench as the apex court had simply said that further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by ‘the appropriate bench, as may be constituted’.

The decision has virtually overturning the apex court’s September 27 judgment assigning adjudication of the vexed issue to a three-judge bench.

The newly set up five-judge bench comprises not only the incumbent CJI but the four judges who are in line to be CJI in the future. Justice Gogoi’s successor would be Justice Bobde followed by Justices Ramana, Lalit and Chandrachud.

Notably, in October last year, the Supreme Court had turned down the Uttar Pradesh Government’s request to take up the matter urgently.

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