A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed 18 petitions filed against the top court's Ayodhya verdict after an in-chamber hearing on Thursday afternoon, people familiar with the development said.
Former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was part of the bench which had pronounced the verdict, was replaced by Justice Sanjiv Khanna at today's in-chamber proceedings. The other members of the bench include justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
The order by the bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde paves the way for implementation of the unanimous November 9 judgment that awarded the title to the 2.77-acre disputed land to Ram Lalla Virajman, the child deity.
It had also granted five acres of land to Muslims at an alternative site in Ayodhya for the construction of a new mosque. The Centre was also ordered to set up a trust to build the temple and manage the site.
The bench's decision to dispose of the review petitions at a single hearing leaves the petitioners with only one last option: a curative petition . Senior lawyers say anecdotal evidence indicates that it is extremely rare for such a petition to succeed.
In the 18 petitions filed by different parties including Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)-backed petitioners, the petitioners had argued that the verdict had sanctioned illegalities committed by the Hindu parties over the decades including the 1992 demolition of the mosque.
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, on the other hand, wanted the court to erase references to illegalities by Hindu parties and insisted that the court could not have given Muslims an alternative site when they hadn't asked for it in the first place.