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5-judge constitution bench to pronounce historic verdict today

5-judge constitution bench to pronounce historic verdict today

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will deliver its landmark verdict on the Ayodhya dispute at 10:30 am on Saturday, ending decades of uncertainty on the issue. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took the decision in consultation with the four other judges deciding the case late Friday evening.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. Earlier Friday, he had met top Uttar Pradesh officials to discuss law-and-order arrangements in this regard.

The other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

There was no clarity on the date of the verdict until now, other than the fact that it would be delivered before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17. Justice SA Bobde, who will take over as the next Chief Justice, had called the Ayodhya case "one of the most important in the world".

Appeals for peace have come from Hindu and Muslim organisations and various political leaders ahead of the verdict. While the home ministry has asked all states to be on alert, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a three-hour review meeting with top police and administration officials in Lucknow on Thursday night.

The dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, claimed by both Hindus and Muslims, has dominated political discourse since the 1980s. While Hindu activists want a temple to be rebuilt on the site, Muslim groups claim that there is no evidence to conclusively establish that the Babri mosque was built on the ruins of a temple.

Ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, senior RSS and BJP leaders had held a meeting with prominent Muslim clerics and intellectuals at the residence of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Delhi.

The Supreme Court's judgement in the Ayodhya land dispute case should not viewed as a matter of victory or loss for any community, PM Narendra Modi said on Friday.See P6

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