A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi after hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute today (10 January) adjourned the matter to 29 January.
One of the judges, Justice Uday U Lalit recused himself from the case due to having prior involvement as a lawyer in a related matter, reports Live Law.
Justice Lalit had earlier represented former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh in a contempt case relating to the Ayodhya dispute, a fact which was pointed out by Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan.
Dhavan clarified that his party did not have any objection to Justice Lalit remaining on the bench, but that he was simply notifying the court.
CJI Gogoi mentioned Justice Lalit’s wish to recuse himself, but reasoned that the merits of the case were not related to the previous contempt matter.
Also, Dhavan raised an objection over the matter being heard by a constitution bench, citing the decision of a three-judge bench in September last year which had rejected the request to refer the matter to a higher bench.
CJI Gogoi responded that it was not against the previous judgment as administrative powers of the CJI had been invoked to list the matter before a constitution bench, in line with Supreme Court Rules.
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