A Powerful Year in office: Chief Justice Of India DY Chandrachud
On the completion of his one year as Chief Justice of India, Dr. DY Chandrachud made a powerful statement that “the judiciary is and will always be for the citizens of the country. People should have confidence that the judiciary exists to protect their fundamental rights”.
Last November when CJI Chandrachud took oath as CJI, he was carrying huge baggage of appointment of judge, pendency of cases, improvement of infrastructure and also co-ordination with the Government. Today, the 64-year-old Chief Justice has proven that he has been able to reduce the weight of this baggage by smooth-lining many things. In the past 365 days, he has shown his spine and taken various decisions administratively and judicially.
The Supreme Court, in a statement, listed out the achievements and the initiatives taken under the leadership of Justice DY Chandrachud, the 50th CJI.
Justice Chandrachud was elevated to the Supreme Court of India in 2016 and reached to the top post of the judiciary after the retirement of Justice UU Lalit on 10.11.2022. After CJI Chandrchud assumed the office of Chief Justice of India, he has proved himself a very diverse judge both on the judicial side as well as the Administrative side.
During his tenure as CJI, the environment of the Supreme Court seems to have changed from before. This is apparent from some of the recent decisions that the Supreme Court has switched from the old pattern and system. Now he himself as well as other judges also visit the bar side of the court premises on a frequent basis. Judges are seen sitting in the cafeteria with advocates and discuss their issues.
As soon as CJI Chandrachud joined the office, he transferred of few judges which was protested by the advocates association. CJI Chandrachud met the protesting lawyers stepped back from his decision and cancelled the transfer of justice Nikhil Kariel.
CJI Chandrachud is known for his courtroom behaviour which is very quiet, calm and composed and also supportive to the younger and new advocates. He has rendered many good judgments. He has rendered a significant judgment of banning the two-finger test of rape victims, permitting a Hindu couple to adopt a girl child when they already had one, Aadhar, Section 377 IPC, Love Jihad, Sabarimala, Bhima Koregaon Case, Delhi LG Vs. CM, discrimination on adultery.
He is also a big advocate of technology. He has done a few remarkable works during his tenure as CJI. Even before he was elevated as CJI, he was head of the e-committee. He has done some unthoughtful work in this area. He has introduced a new system of e-filing the cases. He keeps on insisting the judges as well as the advocate to go paperless. He has made the first 5 courts of the Supreme Court.
Under the pioneering leadership of the CJI, the period has been exceptional as it led to the introduction of several path-breaking initiatives that include the adoption of cutting-edge technology making court premises more accessible and inclusive
The new system of providing a copy of the entire paper book with the cause list issued by the Supreme Court is one such step that is not only unique but also enables the smooth functioning of the courts. The copy provided by the Supreme Court registry is identical as it is given to the Judges. One can download a copy of the petition from anywhere in the world.
He has not only provided this facility but also started free Wi-Fi internet to every stakeholder. Suswagatam where the system of e-pass was introduced is also an excellent step. Making court paperless had been his dream since the beginning. He has not only convinced his fellow judges but the Senior advocates and Junior Advocates also.
In his short tenure as Chief Justice, 121 recommendations have been sent to the Government for the appointment as Judges of various High Courts. He has also recommended 15 names for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges and all of them have taken oath and functioning as Judges of the Supreme Court.
During this period when CJI Chandrachud suggested the transfer of judges posted in different High Courts, they requested the CJI to transfer them to their desired High Court but the request was turned down by the collegium led by CJI Chandrachud and sent all of them to a place which is located far away from their parent High Court.
On 5th July 2023, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended the names of three judges to be transferred to different High Courts. All three judges submitted their representation to the SC Collegium.
It would also be incomplete if another human side of the CJI is not discussed. Justice Chandcrachud lost his first wife Ms. Rashmi who was suffering from cancer in 2007. Later he got married to Ms. Kalpana Das who later became Kalpana Dhananjaya Chandrachud. After his second marriage, CJI Chandrachud, he adopted two differently abled daughters and he is taking care of those daughters very well both his daughters Priyanka and Mahi.
Recently in an interview, he said that before leaving for Court and after reaching home after work, he listens to the Music of the playlist prepared by them.
The Opening of Mitti Café in the Supreme Court has won the hearts of millions of people across the world. The Café is opened in the Supreme Court which is managed by physically challenged people.
He refused to accord legal recognition to Queer a union under the Special Marriage Act but made a strong pitch for their legal endorsement. He also endorsed such couples seeking adoption rights jointly, even though he and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul were in the minority on the issue.
CJI Chandrachud has one more year to perform in the office and many more things to be done.