Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi

"Why does a judgment need an author?" Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi on the controversy over the "anonymous" Ayodhya Verdict

Meera Emmanuel

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who was one of five judges that decided on the long standing Ayodhya case last year, on Wednesday responded to the controversy over who authored the unanimous judgement on behalf of the Constitution Bench.

While speaking during a Webinar on the theme of Judicial independence, hosted by the Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities (CAN) Foundation, the former CJI asserted that it was "jurisprudential and logically acceptable" for all five judges to have signed the 929 page judgement without designating a single author.

He went on to point out that he knew of 32 cases decided by a Bench headed by a Supreme Court Chief Justice between 2015-16, wherein the author was not mentioned. No questions were asked, Gogoi observed.

He added, "Speaking for myself, I have been the author of 13 judgments where the name is not shown. These are reported Supreme Court cases, check (it) up."

While this is the case, he queried,

"Why does a judgment need to have an author? It (Ayodhya judgment) is signed by five judges. The five judges are the authors... Can you not imagine a system where the five judges have agreed on a conclusion... where they do not want to take credit?"
Ranjan Gogoi

He added, "Is it not self-sacrifice? ... This question (regarding the author of the Ayodhya verdict), I am sorry to say, is proposed by critics who want five judges to write judgments, so that the Ayodhya judgement does not come out before my retirement!"

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