Vishal Kumar Singh
Patna High Court
Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud is all set to take over as the 50th Chief Justice of India on 9th November, 2022. He is undoubtedly, one of the most awaited Chief Justices of India who will be holding the office for almost two years.
Born on 11th of November, 1959 to his father Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud, who was elevated as a permanent Judge of the Bombay High Court after two years in 1961, and mother Prabha Chadrachud, who was a classical musician, D.Y. Chandrachud completed his graduation in Economics from St. Stephens College, Delhi and LL.B. from Delhi University. Later, Chandrachud went to Havard University to pursue his LL.M. and Ph.D.
Chandrachud enrolled as an Advocate in 1982 in the Bombay High Court and had regular appearances before the court benches and tribunals in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi. He was designated as a Senior Advocate of the Bombay High Court in the year 1998, following which he was elevated as a Judge of the Bombay High Court in the year 2000. Subsequently, he was elevated to the Apex Court in 2016 and now, he is the Chief Justice of India designate.
Ever since he was elevated to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Justice Chandrachud has been seen as a protector and guardian of liberty in the country. His order in the case of Babita Puniya had paved the way for the entry of women officers into the Indian Army. His orders in the cases of Navtej Singh Johar and K.S. Puttaswamy are regarded as the pathbreakers of the traditional Indian Judicial System.
One of the most challenging jobs assigned to Justice Chandrachud was as the Chairperson of the Supreme Court E- Committee in the wake of Covid. When the entire world was struggling with the challenge of shifting from the physical world to the virtual world, he was dealing with his responsibility of transmuting the most widely spread and vivid legal system in the entire world from physical form to the virtual form. The smooth functioning of the Online Courts, E – Courts Website and Live Streaming, are all the brainchild of the SC E-Committee headed by Justice Chandrachud.
Pendency of cases is being seen as one of the major challenges that Justice Chandrachud will have to deal with within two years of his tenure. The next challenge before him will be the E-Filing of the cases and the functioning of the Digital Courts, including the subordinate courts. The third major challenge will be the infrastructure of the courts across the country, especially those situated in far flung areas where there is a huge lack of institutional-mechanism. Fourthly, he will be dealing with the Herculean task of appointment of judges at all the levels of judiciary. These four major challenges will be on top priority during his tenure as the CJI. As an Advocate practicing before the Hon’ble Patna High Court and Sessions Court of various districts, I personally feel that there is a need to revamp the entire mechanism of district level judiciary. Higher the court, broader the thinking concept has led to a situation where there is no room left for the expeditious disposal of cases. Apart from that, the lower judiciary judges are young(er) in age, but they are lacking behind in technological aspects. The same is the situation with the court clerks and other officials. This will be a major challenge before Justice Chandrachud to emancipate the district level judicial bodies on the same turf. Moreover, the need for establishment of local level tribunals is yet another question which Justice Chandrachud has to face in his tenure.
For the last few years, India has seen Chief Justices with a tenure little more or less than one year. Justice Chandrachud will be serving in the office as the CJI for two years-one of the longest in the recent past. A few days back, when a lawyer had issued a letter with regard to Justice Chandrachud’s involvement in a judgment allegedly related to a client of his elder son Abhinav- who is a practitioner at the Bombay High Court, the benevolent support from all the corners of the Bar with him evidently made him one of the most praised CJI already. The legal fraternity of the country is hopeful from Justice Chandrachud for the reforms which have been long awaited as he assumes office on 9th November, 2022.
[Views expressed are personal. The author may be contacted on 7294822641 / firstname.lastname@example.org]