He is known as an articulate and eloquent speaker. His name is associated with many important judgments and observations of the Supreme Court. However, Dhananjay Jaswant Chandrachud, who was sworn in as the country’s 50th Chief Justice yesterday, said, “Not my words, but my actions will speak for me.”
After outgoing Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit proposed the name of Justice Chandrachud as his successor, there were a lot of discussions mainly on two issues. It is still going on today.
Firstly, this is the first time in India that a father and son have become the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Justice Yashwant Vishnu Chandrachud holds the record for the longest innings as Chief Justice (1978 to 1985 – seven years). The newly appointed Chief Justice is his son.
Second, Justice Dhananjay Jaswant (DY) Chandrachud, fondly referred to in legal circles as ‘DYC’, twice overruled his father’s bench judgment as a Supreme Court judge. He will handle the duties of the Chief Justice of the country till November 10, 2024.
The early life of the judge
Born on 11 November 1959 in Mumbai. Studied at Cathedral & John Conan School, Mumbai, and St. Columbus School, Delhi. DY Chandrachud graduated in Mathematics and Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi in 1979. But the law was the first choice. Graduated in Law from Delhi University in 1982. Masters from Harvard University Law School. Researched there.
Chandrachud started working as an assistant to senior lawyers and judges right from his studies at Delhi University. Became Senior Advocate of Bombay High Court in 1998. In 2000, he served as a judge of the Bombay High Court. Then Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court in 2013, and Judge of Supreme Court in 2016.
From Babri Masjid to Aadhaar, 377 to Sabarimala – Justice Chandrachud’s name is included in many important judgments as a judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud was a member of the Supreme Court bench that recognized the right to privacy in 2017. A bench of then Chief Justice YV Chandrachud upheld the government’s curtailment of all fundamental rights of citizens during the Emergency in 1975. Now his justice son Chandrachud pointed out the error of that decision and said, “No civilized country can take away life and personal freedom.”
In 2018, the Supreme Court decriminalized consensual homosexuality. Justice Chandrachud was a member of the bench which declared ‘unconstitutional’ the part of Article 377 which called homosexuality ‘against nature’. In the same year, the Supreme Court struck down Section 497 and decriminalized extramarital affairs. Justice Chandrachud Sebar also dissented from the judgment given by his father’s bench calling the law ‘patriarchal’. In the same year, when a bench of 5 judges of the Supreme Court legalized Aadhaar, Justice Chandrachud said in a separate judgment that if Aadhaar is linked to every data repository, there is a danger of harming the rights of individuals. Yesterday, the new Chief Justice said that his priority would be to serve the common people.