The Supreme Court will on Saturday pronounce a historic judgement in the much-awaited Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land dispute case.
The five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court, which heard the sensitive case for a marathon 40 days, had reserved its verdict on October 16, after hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the case considered politically-sensitive.
The proceedings in the case, turned out to be the second-longest hearings ever in the Supreme Court’s history after the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case, which went on for 68 days. The third longest was a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, which went on for 38 days.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, includes four other judges – Justices Sharad Arvind Bobde, Ashok Bhushan, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer.
The National Broadcasting Association (NBA) has issued an advisory on how the media should cover and report the case, keeping in view its sensitivity.
The apex court heard the case from August 6 this year on a day-to-day basis, (five days a week) after the mediation process, conducted by a three-member Mediation panel headed by Justice (Retired) FMI Kalifullah, failed.
These three parties — Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara — had knocked the doors of the Apex Court challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of September 30, 2010 trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts to Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni wakf board.
Ahead of the verdict, CJI Ranjan Gogoi held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and state DGP Om Prakash Singh apparently to take stock of law and order situation in the state.
The officials briefed the Chief Justice about their preparedness in handling the law and order situation.
They also said that the administration is ready to deal with any kind of situation across the state, sources said.
The CJI asked officials to take all necessary steps and ensure that no untoward incident takes place in any place in the state, they said.
The meeting lasted a little more than an hour.
Security arrangements have been beefed up in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, especially in Ayodhya district, in view of the impending judgment in the case.
Section 144 has been imposed in the district till December 10.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had held a meeting on Thursday via video conferencing with all district magistrates and senior officials directing them to crack down on those trying to disrupt peace. He also asked the officials to stay alert and pro-active.
The judgment in the case was expected to be pronounced before November 17, when CJI Gogoi demits office.