Supreme Court Bench Members Decline Invitation to Ram Temple Consecration, Justice Bhushan to Attend

AYODHYA, India: The Supreme Court bench headed by then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi settled the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in November 2019. The verdict allowed for the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. However, only one out of the five justices who presided over the case will attend the temple deity’s consecration ceremony.

Former Chief Justice Gogoi, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, and Justice S Abdul Nazeer will not be present at the “pran pratishtha” ceremony held at the sprawling temple. Each justice has their own reasons for their absence. Justice Ashok Bhushan, on the other hand, has confirmed his attendance at the event.

Justice Gogoi, who was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member in 2020, is currently occupied with various charitable works and welfare projects in Assam. Similarly, Chief Justice Chandrachud will not be attending due to his commitment to the court work on Monday. Justice Nazeer, the lone Muslim judge on the Ayodhya bench, is currently serving as the governor of Andhra Pradesh and has prior commitments that prevent his participation.

In contrast, Justice Bhushan, who was recently appointed as the chairman of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, has expressed his intention to attend the historic event in Ayodhya. He will travel to Ayodhya before the ceremony begins on Sunday.

The landmark verdict by the five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, and S Abdul Nazeer, was delivered on November 9, 2019. The judgment granted the Hindu side the title of the disputed site in Ayodhya, stating that they presented a stronger case with supporting evidence. Importantly, the judgment did not mention the name of the author, maintaining its anonymity.

Justice Bhushan had written a separate concurring opinion of 116 pages, but Chief Justice Gogoi insisted on keeping the verdict unanimously anonymous by labeling it as an “addenda.” The bench heard the Ayodhya land dispute case starting from August 6, 2019, and reserved its verdict on October 17. After 23 days, on November 9, the historic judgment was delivered.

While the absence of certain justices at the consecration ceremony highlights their personal commitments and professional responsibilities, the upcoming event remains significant in the history of Ayodhya and the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. The presence of Justice Bhushan, who played a crucial role in the verdict, adds further importance to the occasion.