Ayodhya dispute finally ends; Meet the 5 judges

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In a historic judgement, the Supreme Court on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi put an end to the more than a century-old dispute that has torn the social fabric of the nation. The apex court said the mosque should be constructed at a “prominent site” and a trust should be formed within three months for the construction of the temple at the site many Hindus believe Lord Ram was born.

The unanimous verdict was rendered by a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

Here is all you need to know about them:

CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who hails from Assam, was the first individual from the Northeast to hold the top judicial post in October 2018. CJI Gogoi has practised in several courts during his career including the Gauhati High Court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which he was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2012. He has heard several landmark cases during his career including the one concerning the National Citizens Register (NRC). Gogoi, who retires on November 17, had earlier indicated that the verdict in the landmark Ayodhya case will be delivered by this week.

Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde is part of the SC 5-member constitution bench as well. He will succeed Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India after the latter retires on November 17. Justice Bobde had served as an additional judge in the Bombay High Court in 2000, following which he was appointed the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2002. Justice Bobde was finally elevated to the SC in April 2013. He will be the CJI for the next 18 months before retiring. Justice Bobde has earlier said that the Ayodhya dispute case is sensitive and also one of the most crucial cases ever.

Justice DY Chadrachud is also a part of the SC bench that is delivering its verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case. Born to YV Chandrachud, the longest-serving CJI of India, Justice DY Chandrachud was appointed as an SC judge in May 2016 by former president Pranab Mukherjee. Justice Chandrachud has served in Bombay High Court, the Allahabad High Court. Justice Chandrachud gave some interesting verdicts including the one on adultery law and right to privacy.

Justice Ashok Bhushan who started off his career in the late 1970s, has also been hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case. Bhushan is among the five-member SC constitution bench that is announcing the historic verdict today. Earlier in his life, Justice Bhushan practised as an advocate in the Allahabad High Court, following which he was elevated to the post of judge in April 2001. He has also served in the Kerala High Court in July 2014; he also took charge as Acting Chief Justice a few months later. Justice Bhushan was finally appointed to the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016.

The final member of the SC constitution bench is Justice Abdul Nazeer. He started practising as an advocate in February 1983 and practised in the Kerala High Court for 20 years. He was later appointed as an additional judge at the court in February 2003, following which he became a permanent judge in 2004. In February 2017, Justice Nazeer was elevated to the Supreme Court after serving as a judge in the Kerala High Court. He was part of a multi-faith bench that heard the triple talaq case.

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