After delivering a landmark verdict on the decades-old Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and his four constitution bench colleagues have planned a dinner at Delhi's iconic Taj Mansingh hotel, sources say.
Justice Gogoi, along with Justices SA Bobde, Ashok Bhushan, DY Chandrachud and SA Nazeer, had held daily hearings in the case for 40 days after the mediation panel failed to arrive at a conclusion in August earlier this year.
Today, in a 1045-page verdict, they ordered that the 2.77-acre land will be given to a trust for the construction of the Ram Temple, and asked the centre or the state government to allocate five-acre plot at a "prominent site" in Ayodhya for a mosque.
Justice Gogoi, who spearheaded the constitution bench, is retiring on November 17.
In 1992, rightwing activists tore down the Babri mosque which they believed was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of the Lord Ram. In the riots that followed, more than 2,000 people were killed.
In the verdict, the Supreme Court bench ruled there was a structure underneath the mosque, referring to an Archeological Survey of India report. They, however, didn't specify if the structure was a temple.
The judges, however, said the demolition of the mosque was illegal. "Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law," the judgement read.
Muslim Waqf Board, one of the respondents in the Ayodhya title suit, has called the verdict "unjust". "We think it is unjust... We can't consider this justice. We are not criticising all parts of judgement," said Zafaryab Jilani, the lawyer for the Muslim group.
In the last three decades, the dispute has completely altered the political landscape, catapulting the BJP from a fledgling political group in the 1980s to becoming the largest party of the country.