New Delhi: A five-member Constitution bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud, on Thursday will start hearing the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case.

On 4 January, the court had said that further orders in the case will be passed by an appropriate bench on 10 January. Subsequently, the bench was constituted by CJI Gogoi on Tuesday.

The issue could become central to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, further polarizing voter preferences.

The case has been on the back burner for a while despite attempts by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, an intervener in the case, to get an early hearing.

The apex court will hear 13 appeals filed against a 2010 Allahabad high court order mandating a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres among the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.

A civil suit for deciding the title of the property on which the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished on 6 December 1992, had been filed before the Lucknow bench of the high court. The Supreme Court stayed the order in 2011. The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh had told the apex court in August 2018 that it was amenable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area, at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

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