The outcome of one of India’s most significant and sensitive litigation will be known Saturday morning when a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, rules on appeals challenging a 2010 order on the title to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.
The Bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, will meet at 10.30 am Saturday to pronounce the judgment it had reserved on October 16 after hearing arguments over 40 days against the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
The High Court had ordered three-way division of the disputed Ayodhya site spread over 2.77 acres, awarding it to the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the deity Ramlalla Virajman and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board.
On Friday, hours before the Supreme Court notified the Saturday sitting, CJI Gogoi met Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh in his court chamber.
It is learnt that the state’s two top officers, who were called to the court, discussed the security arrangements and other measures in place for maintenance of law and order once the judgment is pronounced.
Once the Bench reserved its order on appeals against the High Court order, the judges had less than five weeks to write their judgments because CJI Gogoi would retire on November 17. Working overtime, they completed the task in 23 days.
During the arguments, the counsel for Ramlalla Virajman staked claim to the disputed site and the adjacent land acquired by the Centre in 1993 following the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The counsel said the adjacent land too was important for Hindus since it would be needed for devotees visiting the proposed Ram temple.
The Muslim parties, on the other hand, urged the Bench to keep in mind that its judgment in the case will have far-reaching implications. They said they hope the Bench “in moulding the relief, upholds our multi-religious and multi-cultural values in resolving the issues confronting it”.