Wednesday 7 December 2022
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PoliticsIndiaJustice Chandrachud nominated as next CJI: Education, career in law described

Justice Chandrachud nominated as next CJI: Education, career in law described

Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit has nominated Justice DY Chandrachud, seen by a large section of the population as woke, as his successor. The chief justice did it formally in a brief meeting held at the Supreme Court judges’ lounge in the presence of all the other judges of the court today. This starts the process for the appointment of Justice Chandrachud as the 50th chief justice of the country.

If the government approves the nomination, which is a convention, Justice Chandrachud will be the first second-generation chief justice. He is the son of Justice YV Chandrachud who was the 16th chief justice and one of the longest-serving ones.

Chief Justice Lalit is scheduled to retire on 8 November at the end of a 74-day tenure as the topmost judge of the country. Justice Chandrachud is expected to be sworn in and assume charge as chief justice on 9 November. He will serve in that position for about two years until his retirement on 11 November 2024.

Justice Chandrachud had become a judge of the Supreme Court on 13 May 2016. He was before that the chief justice of the since 31 October 2013. He began his career in law as a judge of the Bombay High Court on 29 March 2000 until his appointment as the chief justice of the Allahabad High Court.

He was an additional solicitor-general of India between 1998 and his appointment to the Bombay High Court bench. The Bombay High Court designated him as a senior advocate in June 1998. He practised law at the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. 

Education and teaching experience of Justice Chandrachud

Justice Chandrachud graduated with economics as the honours subject from St Stephen’s College in New Delhi. He studied law at Campus Law University, Delhi University. He secured his LLM degree and a doctorate in juridical sciences from Harvard Law School in the US.

He was a visiting professor of the subject “comparative constitutional law” at Mumbai University and the Oklahoma University School of Law in the US. He has delivered lectures at the Australian National University, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School and the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was a speaker at conferences organised by bodies of the United Nations, including the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation and United Nations Environmental Programme, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Career of Justice Chandrachud

Justice Chandrachud’s career in law has seen constant upholding of Western values, especially those that foreign-funded NGOs press for, but otherwise it is a combination of practical experience and academic reading in law. 

His years in the Supreme Court have seen his hand in almost every notable judgment of the court. His verdicts and dissents on the bench were marked by a reformist approach, especially in the arena of civil liberties and individual and women’s rights going to the extent of what the conservatives would see as a violation of the sanctity of where he ruled that a married woman was free to have sex with men other than her husband while he made no comment whether married men were entitled to be as adulterous.

His latest judgment held that single women were equally eligible for the protection of abortion laws. He had decriminalised adultery and upheld the right of women short service officers in the Indian Army and the Indian Navy to be considered for permanent commission and stood by a woman’s right to marry a partner of her choice. He sided with the majority judgment in upholding the right of women of menstrual age to enter the Sabarimala temple, a verdict that was challenged and is still not a settled issue.

He was part of the nine-judge bench that upheld privacy as a fundamental right intrinsic to life and liberty and not an “elitist construct”. His opinion in the privacy judgment in 2017 had declared the infamous ADM Jabalpur or habeas corpus case, which had held that citizens had no right to life and liberty during an emergency period, as “seriously flawed”. His father had authored the lead opinion in the ADM Jabalpur in 1976.

His judgments had also decriminalised Indian Penal Code Section 377 (consensual adult homosexual sex) and recently gave the government three months to take the lead and devise a policy framework to open up avenues of employment for transgender persons, particularly in the civil aviation industry.

Justice Chandrachud was part of the five-judge bench that unanimously upheld the Hindu side’s claim to the title of the Ram Janmabhoomi land. Recently, a bench led by him had in the Gyanvapi mosque case tried to strike balance by directing the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the area where a linga had been reported to be found while ordering that Muslims should not be restricted or impeded from accessing the mosque to offer namaz (salah) or perform Islamic rituals.

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