Author of Ayodhya verdict not named, but it bears Chandrachud’s imprint

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NEW DELHI: The unanimous Ayodhya judgment, written at express speed, broke three conventions that have been followed in the Supreme Court for 70 years — a verdict always bears the name of the author, he/she alone reads it in open court and the main judgment isn’t accompanied by an “addenda”.
Though CJI Ranjan Gogoi read out the judgment, it did not carry the author’s name. Ditto for the addenda. But it was clear from the judgment’s printed version that the author was Justice D Y Chandrachud. It was a valid surmise. SC judges have their styles and use distinct fonts.
For those familiar with Chandrachud’s style, the matter was settled almost beyond reasonable doubt. No other judge sub-divides issues involved in a case into chapters. Be it Aadhaar, right to privacy or Sabarimala, Justice Chandrachud has followed the pattern. In the Ayodhya case, the judgment had 17 chapters from ‘A’ to ‘Q’.
Acomparison of the fonts used by judges in their judgments also indicated that the 116-page addenda, attached to the 929-page unanimous verdict, was authored by Justice Ashok Bhushan. The addenda was in the shape of a complete judgment and could well have passed off as a separate, although concurring, judgment.
However, the CJI and his colleagues “decided to speak to the nation in one voice on such an important and historic issue” and prevailed upon their colleague to christen his concurring judgment as “addenda”, a new concept in the SC’s history. The addenda, which extensively quoted Hindu scriptures and Puranas, said, “Faith and belief of the Hindus, as depicted by the evidence on record, clearly establish the Hindus’ belief that at the birthplace of Lord Ram, the mosque was constructed and three-dome structure is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The fact that Hindus were, by constructing iron wall dividing mosque premises cannot be said to alter their faith and belief regarding the birthplace of Lord Ram. The worship at the Ram Chabutra was symbolic worship of Lord Ram who was believed to be born in the premises.”
“It is thus concluded that faith and belief of Hindus since prior to construction of mosque and subsequent thereto has always been that Janmasthan of Lord Ram is the place where Babri mosque has been constructed which faith and belief is proved by documentary and oral evidence discussed above.”

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