The Bench — which included CJI-designate SA Bobde, and Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer — awarded the disputed site in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, while the top court directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board for building a mosque.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi
Gogoi is the first person from the North East to be appointed the Supreme Court Chief Justice. He was elevated to the top court in April 2012 and became the chief justice in October 2018.
He was among the four senior judges who held an unprecedented press conference in January 2018, revealing dissent in the then CJI Dipak Misra-led Supreme Court. The judges had raised concerns over the assignment of cases and said the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order.
Gogoi has heard several landmark cases as Chief Justice, including the one on National Register of Citizens in his home state.
Apart from the Ayodhya verdict, Gogoi will hear review petitions against verdicts on Sabarimala Temple, the Rafale deal, and on bringing the SC and the CJI’s office under RTI, before he demits office.
Gogoi had been accused of sexual harassment by a former SC employee. He was given a clean chit by an in-house committee headed by Justice Bobde.
CJI-designate SA Bobde
Justice Bobde, who will succeed Gogoi on 17 November, was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2013. As CJI, he will have a tenure of 18 months.
In the Supreme Court, Bobde has been part of benches that gave the landmark ruling recognising privacy as a fundamental right, the Aadhaar ruling that citizens without the ID could not be deprived of basic services and government subsidies.
He reportedly mediated between former CJI Misra and Justices Gogoi, Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph after the press conference took place.
Justice DY Chandrachud
Chandrachud was appointed a Supreme Court judge in May 2016 and has also delivered certain landmark verdicts, some of which have included overturning those handed down by his father — Justice YV Chandrachud. He wrote the majority judgement that made the right to privacy a fundamental right. He was also part of the SC benches that decriminalised adultery law, read down Section 377, allowed entry of women into Sabarimala, made the playing of national anthem in theatres optional and struck down the annulment of marriage in the Hadiya case.
He wrote a dissenting judgment when the Supreme Court backed the legality of Aadhaar.
Justice S Abdul Nazeer
Nazeer was elevated to the Supreme Court in February 2017.
He was on the SC bench that ruled right to privacy was fundamental and declared triple talaq as unconstitutional. However, Nazeer wrote a dissenting judgement with Justice JS Khehar saying the Supreme Court could not interfere in personal laws even as they called the practice “sinful in theology”.
Last year, Nazeer wrote a dissenting judgement after the SC refused to refer to a five-judge bench a 1994 judgment which had said the offering of prayers in a mosque was not an “essential feature” of Islam.
Justice Bhushan was appointed to the Supreme Court in May 2016.
He has been part of the benches that ruled on the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme, the Delhi vs Centre case and the 1993 order that set up ‘collegium system’ of appointing judges.
In the Aadhaar case, Bhushan concurred with the majority judgement but wrote a separate opinion in which he said the Aadhaar Act did not create a framework for surveillance and there was insufficient evidence to show people were being denied services because of it.
In Delhi vs Centre, he disagreed with Justice Sikri that “services” were totally outside the purview of Delhi Government.