The Ayodhya case in the Supreme Court was adjourned again today after the exit of one of the five judges in the constitution bench. Justice UU Lalit recused himself saying he had been a lawyer in a related case.
In an interview to news agency ANI at the start of the year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that any decision on passing an executive order on the Ram temple issue cannot be made unless the judicial process is over.
“Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever will be our responsibility as the government, we are ready to make all efforts… We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the ambit of the Constitution,” PM Modi had said.
The Supreme Court will take up the temple-mosque case on January 29.The bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will then decide on a schedule and the frequency of hearings in the case. The other judges on the Constitution Bench are Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana and Justice DY Chandrachud.
Muslim stakeholders in the case say an early resolution is what they want too. “We welcome the five-judge bench constituted by Supreme Court. Every citizen of the country is expecting the court to hear the matter for its final verdict. We expect this issue will be settled as soon as possible,” said Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, a prominent Muslim cleric in Lucknow.
In the last two years that BJP has been in power in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu priest as well, has made Ayodhya a showcase when it comes to development and tourism projects. Part of the plan is to build a massive Ram statue in the temple town that will be the world’s tallest. The BJP hopes these moves will attract votes in the general elections, especially from those among the majority Hindus who believe that a Ram temple should be constructed in Ayodhya at the earliest.
On October 29 last year, the bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and K M Joseph had refused to grant the Uttar Pradesh government counsel’s request for urgent hearing of the appeals in the case. The bench had ordered that the appeals be listed in the first week of January before an “appropriate bench” which it said would decide the date of hearing.