New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed  January 29 as the date when the five-judge constitution bench will assemble to fix the schedule of hearing in the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. Since one of the justices on the bench, Justice UU Lalit, recused himself, a new bench will be constituted. (Also read: Ravi Shankar Prasad Urges SC to Fast-track Case, Asks ‘Why Should we Worship Babur’)

As soon as the bench assembled in the morning, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had said, “Today is not for hearing, see the order, it is to fix schedule.”

The Supreme Court registry will now need to give a report on by when will all documents be translated and the case be ready for hearing.

Before any hearing for fixing the time schedule could be made, Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, submitted that one of the judges, Justice UU Lalit, had appeared as a lawyer for Kalyan Singh.  He added that there was no objection to Justice Lalit being a part of the bench. However, Justice Lalit recused himself.

In the earlier hearing on January 4, the apex court had said that an ‘appropriate bench’ would give further orders in the case on January 10. Interestingly, none of the advocates appearing for the parties in the case had any idea that a constitution bench would be formed. PTI quoted two senior advocates as saying, “everyone was expecting that a three-judge bench will be constituted”.