New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute to January 10, saying a bench that will hear a batch of cross petitions challenging the 2014 Allahabad High Court judgement on the Ayodhya title issue will decide the way forward. “The further orders (on the hearing of the petition) will be passed by the bench which will be constituted on January 10,”Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for different parties, did not even get the opportunity to make any submission. Reports claimed that the hearing which continued for 60 seconds, did not see any arguments from either side.

Now, a three-member bench will be set up for taking forward the Ayodhya land dispute case in which as many as 14 appeals were filed against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The top court also dismissed a PIL seeking to hear the Ayodhya matter on urgent and day to day basis. The PIL was filed by an advocate Harinath Ram in November 2018.

On October 29, the apex court had declined an urgent hearing on the politically-sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case and had fixed the issue for first week of January before an “appropriate bench” and left a decision on the timeline to it. “We have our own priorities,” said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, rejecting an urgent hearing as the Uttar Pradesh government argued that it was a 100-year-old dispute that should be taken up on priority.

Later, an application was moved by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) for according an urgent hearing by advancing the date, but the top court had refused the plea, saying it had already passed an order on October 29 relating to the hearing on the matter.

Upset over the Supreme Court deferring the hearing on the Ayodhya matter, various Hindutva organisations, including the RSS and the Shiv Sena, have been putting pressure on the Narendra Modi government demanding the Centre to bring a law to pave way for the construction of a grand Ram temple at the disputed site.

Earlier on January 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested that any decision on ordinance on Ram temple can happen only after the completion of the judicial process but asserted that the government was ready to make all efforts to fulfil its responsibility.

“Let the judicial process take its own course. Don’t weigh it in political terms. Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts,” the Prime Minister said during an interview, telecast by several TV channels.