Hearing individual grievances equally important for judges: CJI on sensitive issues pending before Supreme Court

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The CJI made this statement while he was felicitated at the Harvard Law School, which is also celebrating its 100th year of the Graduate Law Program

On being questioned about sensitive cases pending before the Supreme Court like the hijab ban case, CJI DY Chandrachud has responded saying cases which deal with individual grievances of citizens are equally important for judges.

"I am conscious of the critique, but I must also share with you that there is a great amount of balancing which any head of the institution has to do..", the Chief Justice of India said.

He added that once Constitution Benches hear these matters, daily regular hearings of individual cases are affected.

"The moment you set apart a bench of, say, seven judges, you're reducing seven judges off the thirty four judges. We're going to be hearing cases involving equally important grievances of citizens." the CJI added while speaking at a felicitation ceremony organized for him at Harvard Law School last month.

At the same event, CJI while answering a question posed to him, had also clarified that the political affiliations of Justice Victoria Gowri of the Madras High Court were looked at very carefully by the Collegium while recommending her name for elevation.

In February the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of then Advocate L Victoria Gowri as judge of Madras High Court ahead of her oath-taking ceremony. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai said that it could not go into the suitability of a candidate who is to be elevated to judgeship.

Petitions before top court had claimed that Ms. Gowri's purported statements of hatred towards Muslims and Christians rendered her ineligible to take the oath.

Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for petitioners, had submitted that "equal justice is part of Article 12. A person who is not in sync with the ideals of the Constitution, should not take the oath as the oath specifies this. Victoria Gowri has uttered things in public which are against ideals of the Constitution."

CJI Chandrachud was felicitated in-person with the ‘Award for Global Leadership’ conferred by the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School on 21 October, 2023.

During his chat with David Wilkins, Professor at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director, Center on the Legal Profession, CJI fondly remembered his time at Harvard as an LLM student in 1982-83 and then an SJD candidate in 1983-1986.

He also spoke about the initiatives at the Supreme Court that have been undertaken during his first year of tenure as the Chief Justice, which include incorporation of technology in court processes, launch of Handbook on combating gender stereotypes, etc.