A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will conduct an in-chamber hearing at 1.40pm on Thursday of a bunch of review petitions filed against the Ayodhya ruling, which handed over the entire disputed land to Ram Lalla, the deity, for a Ram temple to be built at the site.
The bench will be headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and will include Justice Sanjeev Khanna, who comes in place of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi who headed the bench that delivered the verdict on November 9.
The judges will take the first call in their chambers on whether the review pleas need to be heard at all and if so whether in open court or not.
Review pleas are usually considered by the same bench and are often dismissed. But in this case, the bench has changed.
Among the reviews listed for Thursday are five review pleas filed by the Muslims parties and one by a group of intellectuals. The Nirmohi Akhara, which was ousted as the sebait, or a caretaker, and instead given a single-member representation in any trust or body which would be set up to build a Ram temple at the site, has also sought a review of the ruling.
Eighteen review petitions have so far been filed in the apex court of which eight were filed by those who were parties in the Ayodhya land title dispute case and rest by third parties who were not involved in the decades-old legal battle.
The review petitions have been filed by Mufti Hasbullah, Moulana Mahfoozur Rehman, Mohammad Umar, Haji Mehboob, Misbahuddin, Haji Asad Ahmed, Shia Central Board of Waqfs and Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha who were litigants. A group of 40 academicians and activists, including Irfan Habib, Jayati Ghosh, Nandini Sundar and Prabhat Patnaik have also filed plea for a re-examination of the verdict.
On December 2, the first plea seeking review of Ayodhya verdict was filed in the apex court by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and also the Uttar Pradesh president of the Jamait Ulama-e-Hind.
On December 6, six petitions were filed in the apex court seeking review of its November 9 judgement.
On December 9, two more review petitions were filed, one by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and the other by 40 persons, including rights activists who have jointly moved the court seeking review of its verdict.
All the Muslim parties took a common ground in criticising the verdict and alleged that emphasis on prayer and belief in the judgement shows it was entirely based on Hindu faith and condoned "unpardonable" illegalities.
They also question the balancing act done by the SC, using its inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, to award five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya to Sunni Waqf Board which was neither pleaded for.
They alleged the judgement condones serious illegalities of destruction, criminal trespass and violation of rule of law including eventual destruction of the mosque.