Justice D.Y. Chandrachud

Justice Dhananjaya Yashwant Chandrachud is all set to become the next chief justice of India. A pre-eminent legal luminary is ready to preside over the chair on 9th November 2022. He has been recommended by the current CJI UU Lalit. DY Chandrachud will serve as the Chief Justice of India for 2 years and will retire on 10th November 2024.

He is a Guest Lecturer at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Australian National University and the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has been invited to several organizations as a speaker, including the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, the World Bank, the United Nations Environmental Program, the Asian Development Bank and the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts.

Like Father Like Son:

DY Chandrachud was born in Mumbai on 11th November 1959. His mother, Prabha Chandrachud, was a singer for All India Radio. It is the rarest in the history of mankind when the father-son duo holds the highest office. Particularly talking about the Indian judiciary, it is the first stance when the son, following the footstep of the father goes on to become the Chief Justice of India. His father Y.V Chandrachud was the 16th and the longest-serving Chief Justice of India.

Early Education:

D Y Chandrachud studied BA with Economics Honours from St Stephen’s College, New Delhi. He completed his LLB from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University in 1982. He obtained an LLM degree and a Doctorate in Juridical Sciences (SJD) from Harvard Law School, USA in 1986. After he graduated from Harvard, Chandrachud practiced law at the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court of India. In June 1998, he was designated as a senior advocate by the Bombay High Court. He served as the additional solicitor general of India from 1998 till his appointment as permanent Judge of the Bombay High Court in March 2000. In October 2013, he was appointed as the Chief Justice
of the Allahabad High Court, he held the position until he was appointed a Supreme Court in May 2016.

Prominent judgements:

As a judge, DY Chandrachud has been a part of many landmark judgements. During his tenure at the supreme court so far, he has pronounced several seminal judgements which include the decriminalization of homosexuality, decriminalization of adultery, declaration of privacy as a fundamental right and combating caste and gender discrimination through the Indian Constitution. Its judgements have not only opened a new Avenue for Indian jurisprudence but also have reaped the views and have been successful in eradicating certain prevailing evils from society. Particularly talking about his literary skills, it has always been a joy for his brother judges and for those people working in the legal field to learn from it. As an advocate practicing predominantly at the Bombay Bar, he was a champion for several causes, including the right to privacy, the rights of HIV+ workers, and religious and linguistic minority rights.

Justice Chandrachud was also part of a landmark judgment by a five-judge constitution bench which recognized the ‘living will’ made by terminally ill patients for passive euthanasia. A bench headed by him had ordered the demolition of realty major Supertech’s twin 40-storey towers in Noida held illegal for a violation of norms.

Digitization of the courts:

Post covid-19, the Digital Revolution has penetrated all spheres of life. The Indian courts were also not untouched. Justice DY Chandrachud has played a crucial role in turning courts into a digital village. As the current Chairperson of the E-committee, Supreme Court of India, he is spearheading a digital transition of the judicial system in India, to ensure access, transparency and accountability. The e-committee is providing services such as the e-filing of cases, virtual Courts, and a National Judicial Data Grid in furtherance of the principle of open Courts. The supreme court and the other Court standing digital has made it accessible to the common people even those living in the remotest of the country.

Judiciary was often alleged for being opaque and performing behind the curtain. A live stream of the courts’ proceedings has not only given an impetus to transparency but also opened the arena for everyone to get an insight into the courtroom. Justice Chandrachud’s contribution in this context is inevitable.

A Reformist:

Justice DY Chandrachud is also known as a reformist who is famous for taking liberal stands through his judgements. From allowing women to enter Sabarimala temple in southern Kerala state to a landmark ruling directing the Indian Armed Forces and the Indian government to grant permanent commissions to women officers in the armed forces. Recently, he ruled that all women, irrespective of their marital status, have the right to seek abortion up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy.


The liberal stands of Justice DY Chandrachud have put him on the radar also. People came down heavily on him when he talked about feminism. The aforesaid tweet stormed after he asked the fraternity to incorporate feminist thinking in the way the law is practiced. People accused him of promoting “toxic feminism” after he urged National Law University (NLU) Delhi students to “incorporate feminist thinking” in the way they practice law.

The #NotMyCJI tweet stormed Twitter and was further fueled by his comments made in 2018 when the SC struck down IPC Section 497, which criminalized adultery. Many called him “woke” and said he was embracing an ‘immoral and Westernized culture and ‘destroying’ the fabric of Indian culture. Others have demanded that the present system of judges be scrapped and still more are blaming him for ‘Tearing families apart. However, these thoughts sound quite progressive, but the reality is completely different. The representation of women in the Indian judiciary is negligible. It has not been able to produce a single female Chief Justice of India and has only produced 11 female Supreme Court judges so far.

Justice Chandrachud says that isolation in the name of judicial independence could be a double sword for the judges. He is known to be open to different voices. Now it would be quite inquisitive to see how he translates his progressive and liberal thoughts and approaches to reform the Indian judiciary and make it more viable for the commons.

Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit nominates Justice D.Y. Chandrachud as his successor

Legalobserver Desk
Legalobserver Desk