New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Ayodhya row on February 26, as Justice SA Bobde who is a part of five-judge Constitution bench, returned from leave.

The Ayodhya row, which was earlier scheduled to be heard on January 29, was adjourned because Justice SA Bobde was unavailable at that time. On January this year, the Supreme Court had reconstituted a bench that was supposed to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said the new bench would comprise Justices Ashok Bhushan, Abdul Nazeer, SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud and he himself. The earlier five-judge Constitution bench had included Gogoi, Bobde, Chandrachud, NV Ramana and UU Lalit.

Earlier, on January 10, Justice Lalit had recused from hearing the matter, after one of the parties had informed the court that he had appeared in a contempt petition in relation to Babri Masjid dispute when he was a lawyer.

The constitution bench will hear the appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya is partitioned equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

However, Muslim parties wanted the apex court to revisit the 1994 judgment.

On September 27, 2018, the SC settled the question by rejecting the contention by a 2:1 majority and refused to refer the matter to a Constitution Bench. The Ayodhya matter has been pending before the top court since 2010. Last year, a bench led by the then chief justice Dipak Misra had indicated that the dispute would be heard on a day-to-day basis.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had asserted that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always been in favour of the building of Ram Temple and said, “Whatever legal measure is required, BJP will try for that. PM Modi had clarified that people want temple but the matter is sub-judice and measures will be taken accordingly. Today’s application is also a legal decision.”

Furthermore, he had accused the Congress party of creating hurdles in early resolution of the matter in the court, saying, “Kapil Sibal’s argument of allotting a date for hearing in the matter only after July’19 is evident to that. They don’t believe in Ram. An affidavit submitted by the then Congress govt on Ram Setu called it imaginary.”