Published: 09th November 2019
Ayodhya Verdict: Who are the 5 SC judges and what other landmark judgments do they have to their credit?
The members of the five-judge constitution bench include CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SA Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. We look at some of their landmark judgments
Following over six decades of deliberation by several courts, the Supreme Court will finally be reading out its verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya on Saturday. The SC bench led by current CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who will demit office on November 17, is expected to pronounce its judgment in the epochal and politically sensitive case at 10.30 am on November 9.
After hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case for a period of 40 days, the apex court bench reserved its judgment on the last day of the hearing that was on October 16, however it was subsequently delayed. Apart from Gogoi, the other members of the five-judge constitution bench include Justices SA Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
It is expected that the judges will also consider the submissions by the court-appointed mediation panel, which had failed to provide a resolution earlier. The three-member panel comprised of Justice FMI Kallifulla, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.
We look at the five judges and some of their landmark judgments apart from the Ayodhya dispute case.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi
Justice Gogoi is also the man behind the upgradation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam that is aimed at tackling the grave issue of illegal infiltration, which has also been in the middle of controversy lately. With the final NRC draft already out and currently being subjected to examination of claims and anomalies, Justice Gogoi along with Justice Rohinton Nariman, have been actively involved in dealing with objections relating to the sensitive document. Gogoi also headed the bench that partially overruled a SC judgment stating that photographs of top politicians, other than the Prime Minister, President and Chief Justice, cannot feature in government advertisements. With his retirement hanging over his head, he still has to pronounce important judgments for he his heading the benches of some important cases including the Rafale judgement review, contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi, Sabarimala Verdict review case and a few more.
Justice SA Bobde
Hailing from a family of lawyers from Maharashtra, he was part of a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court which in August 2017 declared the right to privacy as a fundamental right of an individual. A nine-judge bench of the apex court headed by the then CJI J S Khehar and which included Justice Bobde had held unanimously that the right to privacy was a constitutionally protected right in India. Justice Bobde also headed a three-member in-house committee which gave a clean chit recently to CJI Gogoi on a sexual harassment complaint against him by a former apex court staffer. 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. Recently, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Bobde directed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, appointed by it for the purpose of running the BCCI administration, to demit office paving the way for elected members to run the affairs of the cricket board.
Justice D Y Chandrachud
During his tenure at the apex court, he has delivered a large number of landmark judgements on comparative law, gender justice, constitutional law, human rights law, public interest litigation and criminal law. Foremost among was his judgment as part of a unanimous nine-judge Bench, which stated that the right to privacy constituted a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. He is also hailed for his concurring opinion holding that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised “unnatural” sexual activities was unconstitutional. This historic decision guaranteed equal rights and protections to the LGBTQ community in our country. In Joseph Shine v Union of India, Justice Chandrachud also concurred with the majority in holding that the historic and age old practice of prohibiting women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was discriminatory and violative of women’s basic rights.
Justice Ashok Bhushan
He is known for the landmark verdict stating that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor has the power to refer any legislative matter to the President for consideration, but not as a routine. Justice Ashok Bhushan, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in his separate but concurring judgement said that “according to the constitutional provisions, executive decisions need not be taken with the concurrence of the LG.”
Also in a separate verdict in the Aadhaar case, he concurred with the majority three-judge judgment and said that the government and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) were empowered to cure defects in the Aadhaar scheme.
Justice S Abdul Nazeer
He was part of the multi-faith SC bench that heard the controversial Triple Talaq Case in 2017. He was a lone Muslim judge in that bench. Though Nazeer and one other judge upheld the validity of the practise of Triple Talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat) basing it on that fact that it is legal under the Muslim Sharia Law, it was dismissed by the bench by 3:2 majority and had then asked the Centre to bring legislation in six months’ time to govern marriage and divorce in the Muslim community.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS and Wikipedia)