Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that in his 23 years as a judge, no one has ever told him to decide a case in a particular way. CJI Chandrachud was speaking at the India Today Conclave 2023 on Saturday, the first ever such appearance by a sitting Chief Justice.
When asked about the independence of the Indian judiciary and pressures while giving judgments, CJI Chandrachud said, “In my 23 years as a judge of a high court, as the chief justice of a high court and the judge of the Supreme Court, no one – and I hope you will trust me when I say this – no has told me to decide a case in a particular way. No one.”
He acknowledged that there are various kinds of pressures. He also mentioned that by the end of the month, he would complete 23 years as a judge. “I am the longest-serving judge in the judiciary. Justice Bobde and Justice Khanwilkar and I were appointed on the same day,” he said.
“We are so clear in the principles which we follow. I wouldn’t even talk to a colleague who is presiding over a case and ask them what’s going on in that particular case. We have a cup of coffee every morning but that’s it. There are some lines which we draw for ourselves. In high courts we hear appeals against decisions of colleagues because the decision of a single judge of a high court goes to a division bench of two judges,” he said.
“If by pressure you meant pressure from the executive or political arm of the government, absolutely no!” said CJI Chandrachud.
He said that when it comes to the pressures on the conscience, then there are times when certain cases that come before them give a rise to a sense of doubt, and searching for the correct solutions.
CJI Chandrachud also said that there is a need to completely modernise the Indian judiciary. “Justice to my mind is not just a sovereign function, which it is, but an essential service we should provide,” he said. He also said that they are using AI and machine learning to translate the SC judgements in English to local languages and reach out to citizens in a language they follow.
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