Justice SA Bobde, who would take over from Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the Chief Justice of India in November, on Wednesday told NDTV that the Ayodhya case is "one of the most important in the world". The 63-year-old Chief Justice-designate is part of the five-judge bench that heard the title suit in the decades-old politically sensitive temple-mosque dispute for over 40 days.
The verdict in the case is expected to come before November 17, when Chief Justice Gogoi is set to retire. Asked if it was a milestone in his career, Justice Bobde told NDTV, "Ayodhya case is definitely important. It is one of the most important in the world".
The dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, which both Hindus and Muslims claim, had been one of the key issues that dominated political discourse since the 80s.
In 1992, right-wing activists razed a 16th Century mosque that they believed was built on a temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram. In the riots that followed, more than 3000 people were killed across the country.
Over the last year, the issue - pending in court for decades -- gathered steam. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court formed a committee to resolve the issue amicably through mediation. But after the mediation attempts failed, the court started daily hearings in the matter since August 6.
Determined to finish the hearings in time, the judges even extended the timing for the daily hearings for an hour. Advocates were rebuked for delaying the proceedings.
Justice Bobde, who was appointed the next Chief Justice by President Ram Nath Kovind earlier this week, will take oath on November 18.
The former Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2013.
He was part of the nine-judge bench of the top court which unanimously agreed that the right to privacy was a constitutionally protected right in India.
He also headed a three-member in-house committee which gave a clean chit recently to Chief Justice Gogoi on a sexual harassment complaint against him by a former employee of the top court. The committee also included Justices Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra.
Justice Bobde was part of the three-judge bench which in 2015 clarified that no citizen of India without an Aadhaar card can be denied basic services and government services.