Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has reportedly reconstituted the Supreme Court bench, which is scheduled to hear the Ayodhya case on 29 January. The new bench will now comprise the CJI himself, Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.
In the new bench, CJI Gogoi has replaced Justices UU Lalit and NV Ramana with Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer respectively. Justice Lalit had recused himself from the last hearing after lawyer Rajeev Dhawan pointed out that the judge had represented Kalyan Singh during whose chief ministers tenure, the Babri Masjid was demolished. Lalit had represented Singh in a contempt case in 1997.
CJI Gogoi had also come under criticism from a certain quarter because of no representation of a Muslim judge in a matter that has religious sentiments attached.
The BJP which has been desperately trying for an early hearing of the case in a bid to gain the electoral mileage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was asked in a TV interview about whether his government will bring in an executive order to build Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He had said, “After judicial process is over, whatever will be our responsibility as the government, we are ready to make all efforts.”