Biography of Hon’ble Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud:
Shri Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud (born 11 November 1959) is currently a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, He is the former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and a former judge of the Bombay High Court.
Constitution Lynched When Person Lynched for Food He Had: Justice Chandrachud
Early life and education:
Chandrachud was born on 11 November 1959.His father Y. V. Chandrachud was the longest serving Chief Justice of India. His mother Prabha was a classical musician. After attending Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai and St. Columba’s School, Delhi, Chandrachud graduated with honours in Economics and Mathematics from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi in 1979. He aced the Honours’ list of the University of Delhi in his final year. He then obtained his LL.B. degree from Delhi University in 1982, followed by an LL.M. degree from Harvard University in 1983. At Harvard, he studied on the prestigeous Inlaks Scholarship, and received the Joseph H Beale prize. He went on to receive his Doctorate of Juridical Sciences (S.J.D.), from Harvard University in 1986. His doctoral thesis was on Affirmative Action; it considered the law in a comparative framework.
His notable carrier :
Chandrachud studied law at Delhi university in 1982 at a time when few jobs were available to young law graduates. He worked for a while, as a junior advocate assisting lawyers and judges, including some memorable briefings that he did for Fali Nariman. Thereafter he joined Harvard law school. After graduating Harvard, Chandrachud first worked at Sullivan and Cromwell, a law firm. Chandrachud describes this as “sheer fluke” due to the strong pecking order that existed at that time, and a strong bias against Indians and similar developing countries.1986 onwards, national law schools were established in a number of cities in India. He was designated as Senior Advocate by the Bombay High Court in June 1998. From 1998, he was Additional Solicitor General of India until his appointment as a Judge. He became a judge at the Bombay High Court from 29 March 2000 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court. During this time, he was also Director of Maharashtra Judicial Academy. All through, he practised law at the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court. He was Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court from 31 October 2013 until appointment to the Supreme Court of India. He was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 13 May 2016.
He continues to be a visiting Professor of Comparative Constitutional law at the University of Mumbai and Oklahoma University School of Law, USA. He has delivered lectures at the Australian National University, Deakin University, Melbourne Law School, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii and the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has been a speaker at conferences organised by bodies of the United Nations including United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, International Labour Organisation and United Nations Environmental Program, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
During Justice Chandrachud’s tenure at the Supreme Court, he has delivered a large number of landmark judgements on comparative law, constitutional law, human rights law, gender justice, public interest litigation and criminal law. Foremost among these was his authorship of the lead opinion in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. v Union Of India And Ors as part of a unanimous nine-judge Bench decision which affirmed that the right to privacy constituted a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. His opinion is also celebrated for overruling the ADM Jabalpur case. In Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, he authored a concurring opinion holding that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised “unnatural” sexual activities was unconstitutional to the extent that it criminalised consensual sex between consenting adults. This historic decision was hailed as a major victory that affirmed the equal protections guaranteed to the LGBTQ community. In Joseph Shine v. Union of India, Justice Chandrachud held Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized adultery, to be unconstitutional on the ground of being arbitrary, archaic and violative of the right to equality and privacy. In Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala,he concurred with the majority in holding that the practice of prohibiting women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of women’s fundamental rights.
Justice Chandrachud has also been the voice of a strong dissent in notable cases. He wrote a dissenting opinion in the Aadhaar case, where the majority upheld the constitutional validity of the largest biometric identity project in the world. Justice Chandrachud held the project to be unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights. In Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana, a 9-judge Bench decision on the constitutional validity of entry tax imposed by states in India, Justice Chandrachud authored a dissenting opinion. He also wrote a dissent in Abhiram Singh v. CD Commachen, a case concerning the regulation of election speech, and in Santhini v. Vijaya Venkatesh on the question of the validity of video-conferencing in matrimonial and family cases. In Romila Thapar & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors, Justice Chandrachud dissented with the majority which refused to constitute a Special Investigation Team to probe the case concerning the arrest of five activists in connection with the Bhima Koregoan violence and held that in light of the particular circumstances of the case, the constitution of a Special Investigation Team was necessary to ensure a fair and impartial investigation.
He has also authored opinions in the decisions of Common Cause v. Union of India legalising passive euthanasia and living wills, the ruling in Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India & Anr on the balance of powers between the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister in the governance of the National Capital Territory, Kalpana Mehta & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors which held that the reliance on Parliamentary Standing Committee Reports by Courts did not constitute a breach of Parliamentary privilege, and in Swapnil Tripathi v. Supreme Court of India, the judgment which allowed live streaming of Indian court cases.
Key Highlights of Hon’ble Justice Dr. D. Y. Chandrachud Judgment in the Right to Privacy Case:
The judgment says:
“Life and personal liberty are inalienable rights. These are rights which are inseparable from a dignified human existence. The dignity of the individual, equality between human beings and the quest for liberty are the foundational pillars of the Indian constitution…
Life and personal liberty are not creations of the constitution. These rights are recognised by the constitution as inhering in each individual as an intrinsic and inseparable part of the human element which dwells within.”
Tracing the evolution of privacy in various cases and writings, the judgment concludes that:
“Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone. Privacy safeguards individual autonomy and recognises the ability of the individual to control vital aspects of his or her life. Personal choices governing a way of life are intrinsic to privacy. Privacy protects heterogeneity and recognises the plurality and diversity of our culture. While the legitimate expectation of privacy may vary from the intimate zone to the private zone and from the private to the public arenas, it is important to underscore that privacy is not lost or surrendered merely because the individual is in a public place. Privacy attaches to the person since it is an essential facet of the dignity of the human being.”
“To live is to live with dignity. The draftsmen of the constitution defined their vision of the society in which constitutional values would be attained by emphasising, among other freedoms, liberty and dignity.
Dignity is the core which unites the fundamental rights because the fundamental rights seek to achieve for each individual the dignity of existence. Privacy with its attendant values assures dignity to the individual and it is only when life can be enjoyed with dignity can liberty be of true substance… The draftsmen of the constitution had a sense of history− both global and domestic– as they attempted to translate their vision of freedom into guarantees against authoritarian behaviour… The backdrop of human suffering furnished a reason to preserve a regime of governance based on the rule of law which would be subject to democratic accountability against a violation of fundamental freedoms… Hence, it would be an injustice both to the draftsmen of the constitution as well as to the document which they sanctified by constricting its interpretation to an originalist interpretation.”
The judgment makes it clear that privacy is “not an elitist construct”. The judgment has rejected the argument of the attorney general that right to privacy must be forsaken in the interest of welfare entitlements provided by the state. The judgment says:
“The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised though history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights. Above all, it must be realised that it is the right to question, the right to scrutinise and the right to dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinise the actions of government. Those who are governed are entitled to question those who govern, about the discharge of their constitutional duties including in the provision of socio-economic welfare benefits. The theory that civil and political rights are subservient to socio-economic rights has been urged in the past and has been categorically rejected in the course of constitutional adjudication by this court.”
‘Aadhaar Act is Unconstitutional’: The Fiery Dissent of Justice D.Y. Chandrachur
“The passing Aadhaar Act as money bill is a fraud on the constitution.”
“Constitutional guarantees cannot be compromised by vicissitudes of technology,” he noted in open court, in what is an emphatic dissent from the majority.
While a dissenting judgement has no force of law, it leaves open the possibility of being referred to a larger bench at a later stage.
Justice Chandrachud’s dissent starts from the legislative process that kick-started the Aadhaar Act, 2016. While the majority view expressed through Justice Sikri’s opinion indicated that there was nothing wrong in present and pushing the Aadhaar Act through Parliament as a money bill, Chandrachud has called it a “fraud on the Constitution”.
“The passing Aadhaar Act as money bill is a fraud on the constitution,” he said, while adding that the decision made by the Lok Sabha speaker to classify it as a money bill could be subject to judicial review.
While Chandrachud held the purpose of the Aadhaar Act to be legitimate, he differed from the majority opinion in noting that there are not enough robust safeguards as to “informed consent and individual rights such as opt-out”.
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Source: Bombay Bar Association, Google and Wikipedia
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