As Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud completes his first year, he emphasizes that the judiciary is for the citizens, instilling confidence in its role as a protector of fundamental rights
- Justice D Y Chandrachud, a tech-savvy leader, championed the use of technology in courtrooms, advocating for virtual hearings and a paperless system
- Addressing challenges like the backlog of cases and infrastructure issues, CJI Chandrachud has navigated the judiciary with a quiet and composed demeanour
CELEBRATING one year in office, Chief Justice of India, Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud has left an indelible mark on the Indian judiciary. He is renowned for delivering insightful judgments and dissenting opinions that stir the conscience of the influential, confront regressive ideas, and showcase his capabilities, conscientious approach, and a strong commitment to justice.
Justice Chandrachud, a tech-savvy leader, championed the use of technology in courtrooms, advocating for virtual hearings and a paperless system over the past year. He believes digital inclusion is crucial to modernise the Indian judiciary and has set the ambitious goal of transforming it using technology in the next 50 years.
In his one-year tenure, Chief Justice Chandrachud delivered important verdicts, including upholding the Delhi government’s powers and addressing the backlog of cases. His efforts to promote transparency, inclusivity, and LGBTQIA+ integration within the judiciary have been noteworthy.
LEGACY OF DISSENT
Justice Chandrachud, who views dissent as the “safety valve of democracy,” is recognized for his profound judgments challenging the powerful and advocating for justice. His diverse opinions on the Bench examine and question societal, political, and religious beliefs, sparking hope for reform.
Beyond his judicial role, CJI Chandrachud’s non-conformist approach is evident in overturning two of his father’s judgments. As a Senior Advocate, his designation at a young age and subsequent contributions, such as his involvement in landmark judgments, reflect a remarkable career. During his glittering career, Justice Chandrachud has been part of a number of landmark judgments, including those on Ayodhya title dispute, decriminalisation of homosexuality, adultery, privacy, entry of women into Sabarimala etc.
PASSION FOR SOCIAL CAUSES
CJI Chandrachud’s passion for social causes can be traced back to his days as a lawyer. In 1997, he defended a labourer who was fired by the public corporation he worked for after he tested positive for HIV-AIDS. The Bombay HC ruled that having HIV-AIDS was not a valid reason to deprive the labourer of his Right to Livelihood, as he was still able to do his job. He also took up cases related to the rights of bonded women labourers, and religious and linguistic minorities.
1998 was a big year for CJI Chandrachud. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in June despite being only 38 years old—this designation is rarely given to advocates below the age of 40.
BALANCING ACT AND FUTURE VISION
Addressing challenges like the backlog of cases and infrastructure issues, CJI Chandrachud has navigated the judiciary with a quiet and composed demeanour. His administrative decisions, including judge transfers and appointments, showcase a commitment to a more accessible and efficient legal system.
Justice Chandrachud, who views dissent as the “safety valve of democracy,” is recognized for his profound judgments challenging the powerful and advocating for justice
His transformative vision, inclusive initiatives, and diverse approach have set a precedent for the future of India’s judiciary.
A HUMAN TOUCH
Beyond the courtroom, Justice Chandrachud’s personal life reflects a compassionate side, adopting two differently-abled daughters and promoting initiatives like Mitti Café, managed by physically challenged individuals. He is known for his love of cricket.
Famously workaholic, Chandrachud presided over a bench on September 30, 2022 that sat till 9:10 pm, hours beyond the regular working hours, to hear 75 cases to clear the board before the start of the Dussehra vacations.