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Justice Lalit recuses himself from Ayodhya case

Kochi: The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to constitute a fresh five-judge Constitution bench to hear the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute on January 29 after a judge, Justice U.U Lalit, recused himself. Justice Lalit, who was part of a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, opted out of the hearing when the counsel for a Muslim party said he had appeared for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh as a lawyer in 1994.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who spoke up soon after the court assembled, said he was not seeking Justice Lalit's recusal. The bench, also comprising Justices S.A Bobde, N.V Ramana and D.Y Chandrachud, noted the submissions made by Dhavan. Dhavan also drew the attention of the bench to the fact that the matter was earlier fixed for hearing before a three-judge bench but the CJI took a decision to list it before a five-judge Constitution Bench.