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In passing today’s Ayodhya verdict, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decided a dispute “whose origins are as old as the idea of India itself”.
That is how the author of the 929-page judgment has described the dispute spanning centuries. The judgment is unanimous, with the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer all concurring.
But, just who among the five judges has actually authored the judgment?
In a departure from general practice, today’s Ayodhya Verdict does not specify who the author is.
There is nothing in law saying that a judgment must bear the name of the author. The Supreme Court Rules, 2013 are silent on this aspect.
The verdict was pronounced today by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. But that does not necessarily mean he is the author of the judgment. Rule 2 of Order XII of the Supreme Court Rules states,
“A member of the Court may read a judgment prepared by another member of the Court.”
If one could hazard a guess, it would be Justice DY Chandrachud, given the style of writing and the formatting of the judgment. He is one of the few Supreme Court judges who adds a table of contents to his judgments. Here is an example of one his judgments (passed in Navtej Singh Johar & Ors v. Union of India).
The judgment also contains a 116-page addendum titled Whether disputed structure is the holy birth place of Lord Ram as per the faith, belief and trust of the Hindus? There is no author mentioned for this document either.
The name of the author has probably been withheld in order to prevent judges from being singled out. The Ayodhya Case, after all, is perhaps the most sensitive case that has been adjudicated by the Supreme Court
[Read the Judgment]