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The ‘dissenting’ judge who puts humanity into law

September 30, 2018 05:59 AM


The ‘dissenting’ judge who puts humanity into law

If Justice D Y Chandrachud were on social media, he would have probably been flooded with heart emojis. As it is, the 58-year-old judge has earned glowing praise, being described as “the shining star of SC” and “liberal lion”.

Considering the recent judgments in cases ranging from Aadhaar and adultery to privacy and Section 377 where he has spoken up for fundamental rights and in defence of dissent, it’s not surprising that he’s emerged as the poster boy for liberals. Many have even forgotten their grouse against him for authoring the judgment in the Loya case.

He is a Mumbai boy who studied at Cathedral and John Connon school before moving to Delhi where his father Y V Chandrachud went on to become the longest serving Chief Justice of India.

In March 2000, he beat a record held by his father to be sworn in as the youngest high court judge at 40 years and four months of age. Interestingly, on two occasions, the privacy case and the petition to strike down adultery from the Indian Penal Code, Chandrachud has taken the rare step of overruling his father’s judgments.

On the career path though, he is set to follow the path of his father, and will be in line for the tenure of Chief Justice of India in November 2022 for two years.

His well-crafted judgments have been appreciated by both jurists and lawyers.

After the Aadhaar judgment where he was the lone dissenter in the 4:1 verdict, lawyer Gautam Bhatia tweeted that Justice Chandrachud had “written a dissent for the ages”. Recent cases may have burnished his free speech credentials but he has been known to wear his liberalism on his sleeve.

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