The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday deferred the hearing of the case on the decades-old Babri Mosque dispute between Muslims and Hindus, local media reported.
When the hearing began, one of the judges recused himself from the case, according to Hindustan Times.
"Justice UU Lalit, one of the five judges of the Supreme Court constitution bench hearing the Ayodhya case, offered to opt out after a lawyer pointed out that he had represented one of the parties nearly two decades ago," it reported.
The case was first deferred earlier this month during the hearing. The next hearing of the case is set for Jan. 29.
The newspaper said: "The Supreme Court will now hear the Ayodhya case on January 29. A new bench will be constituted before the next hearing."
In December 1992, Hindus gathered at the disputed site and destroyed the 16th-century mosque named after Mughal Emperor Babur. The destruction sparked nationwide riots that left around 2,000 people dead.
The dispute between Hindus and Muslims has resulted in thousands of deaths over the years
Muslims demand a new mosque at the site, while Hindus claim that this was where their god Ram was born, demanding instead a temple at the site.
Babri Mosque dispute
The Babri Mosque is said to have been built by Mughal Emperor Babur in 1526.
In 1885, a Hindu religious body filed a case in Faizabad court asking for permission to construct a temple to honor Ram inside the premises of the Babri Mosque. The permission was denied.
In 1949, a group of Hindus entered the premises of the mosque and installed an idol of Ram there. The idol was not removed and it was locked by the administration. However, an official and a Hindu priest were given charge to look after the place.
In 1986, the district administration of Faizabad, under which Ayodhya city comes, opened the premises to Hindus, allowing them to carry out their rituals.
The situation remained calm until December 1992, when thousands of activists belonging to extremist Hindu groups and political parties along with BJP leaders entered Babri Mosque and demolished it.
The case over the dispute has been languishing in India’s legal system for years without any final outcome./aa