A five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde will on Thursday consider 18 petitions seeking a review of its November 9 verdict permitting the construction of a temple on the land where the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya stood before it was razed down on December 6, 1992 by kar sevaks.
The Ayodhya verdict declined the Muslims’ claim of title over the disputed land but allowed them five acres of land elsewhere in the area as a compensation.
The judges will hear the 18 review petitions in their chambers and not in open court, at 1.40 p.m.
In case they decide to re-consider the judgment — a rare occurrence in the Supreme Court — the Bench would hear the petitions in open court.
The unanimous judgment on November 9 was originally delivered by a Bench of then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.
Justice Bobde succeeded Justice Gogoi as CJI on the latter's retirement in mid-November. Justice Sanjiv Khanna has replaced Justice Gogoi on the Ayodhya Bench, which would consider the review pleas on December 12.
Among the 18 review petitions is one filed by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, who said the judgment rewards “the several illegalities committed by the Hindu parties, particularly in 1934 (damaging the domes of the Babri Masjid), 1949 (desecrating the Babri Masjid) and 1992 (demolition of the Babri Masjid)”.
Yet another petition has been filed by 40 prominent persons , who have said the Ayodhya verdict has a direct impact on the secular fabric of the country.
These petitioners include Irfan Habib, Harsh Mander, Farah Naqvi, Nandini Sundar, Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal and Jayati Ghosh.