Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the Centre’s move of approaching the Supreme Court for the release of excess land acquired around the disputed site in Ayodhya and be handed over to the Ramjanambhoomi Nyas. The chief minister said, "I welcome this move by the Centre. The Centre's application to start work on the non-disputed land is welcome. This is on one's own respect of faith and a dispute that has been going on for years. We've been telling this from the beginning, the application that has been sent by the Central government, we must get permission to work on the undisputed land ... We welcome the Central government's this move" The Centre has sought direction to release 67 acres acquired land out of which 0.313 acres is disputed.
The government's petition comes a day after the Ayodhya case hearing was cancelled because of the non-availability of Justice SA Bobde. The hearing was scheduled to start from today. The new date for the Ayodhya case hearing has not been decided yet.
As many as 14 appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
In the last September verdict of 2:1, a three-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence, adding that the previous verdict has no relevance on this issue.
However, the Supreme Court is yet to announce the next date for hearing the politically sensitive Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya.
On January 25, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had reconstituted the Ayodhya bench where he inducted Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer. The case was scheduled to be heard today. Earlier, the Supreme Court decided to constitute afresh the five-judge Constitution bench to hear on January 29 the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya after a judge, Justice UU Lalit, recused himself from the hearing. Justice Lalit, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, "expressed his disinclination to participate in the hearing any further" and opted himself out of the contentious matter.
The apex court had said since Justice Lalit has opted out of the hearing in the matter, there was no option left but to adjourn the case "to fix a date of hearing and to draw up a time schedule for hearing of the case". Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, said Justice Lalit had appeared as a lawyer for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in a connected matter "sometime in the year 1997".
Dhavan, who was appearing for lead petitioner M Siddiq (since dead) and now represented by his legal heirs, pointed to the September 27, 2018 judgment, by which the top court had refused to refer the 1994 verdict in Ismail Faruqui case to a five-judge constitution bench to examine the observation that a mosque was not integral to Islam.