On Wednesday, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi reserved its order on the mediation issue saying it was “looking at hearts, minds and healing if possible”, and that a “negotiated settlement” was the “best way to restore peace”.
In a statement made in Rajya Sabha on March 14, 2002, the late A B Vajpayee had made clear that his government is the statutory receiver of the land and “is duty bound to maintain the status quo at the disputed site in Ayodhya”.
Justice Uday Lalit recused himself from the case after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that he had once appeared as a lawyer for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in a related matter.
If the senior-most judge is appointed the CJI, as has been the norm but for twice in independent India, then Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramanna, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud, are set to be the next four chief justices.
The Centre on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court asking that it be allowed to had over the non-disputed land acquired around the disputed site to its original owners. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath welcomed the Centre's move.