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A Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will hear the the case relating to the Ayodhya dispute on Tuesday, February 26, at 10.30 am.
A notification to this effect has been issued by the Court registry today.
The case was referred to be heard by a Constitution Bench of the Court on January 9 this year, even though a three-judge Bench had earlier declined to refer the matter to a larger Bench, which involved reconsideration of its 1994 judgment in Ismail Farooqui v. Union of India.
At the time of making the reference this year, it was intimated that a Bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud will be hearing the matter.
However, Justice Lalit subsequently recused from hearing the matter on January 10 this year, since he had appeared in a connected matter earlier.
As per the notification issued today, Justice NV Ramana will also not be part of the Bench. Instead, Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will be part of the Bench, along with CJI Gogoi and Justices Bobde and Chandrachud.
In October 2018, a three-Judge Bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi with Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph had deferred the hearing in the case till January 2019 stating that there was no urgency in the case. The adjournment was with respect to setting a date for commencement of the final hearing in the case.
The case had come up for hearing after the three-Judge Bench of then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra with Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer had ruled by a 2:1 majority in September 2018 that the case need not be referred to a larger Bench.
The question that was answered in the September 2018 verdict was whether the Supreme Court’s 1994 judgment in the Ismail Farooqui v. Union of India should be reconsidered.
In the Ismail Faruqui judgment, the Supreme Court had held that offering prayer at religious places would not be an essential or integral part of such religious practice, unless the place has a particular significance for that religion.
The Bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra held that the ruling in Ismail Farooqui case pertaining to Mosques not being essential to the religion was confined to the facts of that particular case and the judgment, thus, need not be revisited.
This verdict paved the way for the hearing in the Ayodhya dispute to commence.
Read the notification issued today: