On November 9th, Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud became the 50th Chief Justice of India, succeeding Uday Umesh Lalit. The ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where Justice Chandrachud took the oath of office. The new Chief Justice was recommended by Lalit as his successor, and Chandrachud has served as a Supreme Court judge for the past eight years.
DY Chandrachud comes from a family with a strong legal background. His father, Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud, was the longest-serving Chief Justice in the history of India. DY Chandrachud himself is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he studied Mathematics and Economics before pursuing a law degree from Delhi University. He also holds a Masters of Laws and a Doctorate of Juridical Science from Harvard Law School, which focused on affirmative legal action.
At his swearing-in ceremony, Chandrachud was accompanied by his partner, Kalpana Das, and their two foster daughters, Mahi and Priyanka. Das is also a lawyer and formerly worked with the British Council. The couple became foster parents to two daughters after Chandrachud’s first spouse, Rashmi, passed away from cancer in 2007. A few years later, he married Kalpana Das.
Chandarchud has two sons from his first spouse, Abhinav and Chintan, both of whom have also pursued careers in law. At the ceremony, the Chief Justice became emotional while acknowledging his father’s legacy and thanked his family for their support.
In a rare move, the Chief Justice brought his two foster daughters to the Supreme Court to show them how the Court functions. Mahi and Priyanka have disabilities, and Chandrachud gave them a tour of the courtroom and his chamber. He entered the courtroom along with his daughters from the public gallery and showed them where the judges sit and where the lawyers argue. He also gave them a tour of his office, fulfilling their desire to see the Supreme Court.
Justice DY Chandrachud has been a part of about 220 cases and verdicts since joining the Supreme Court in 2016. He has given several landmark judgments in favour of women, including declaring the Sabarimala temple practice unconstitutional and scrapping the Indian Penal Code Section 497 that deprived women of sexual autonomy. In 2022, he also declared legal and safe abortion a right for every woman until 24 weeks of pregnancy. Women who conceive out of marital rape can also seek termination under the MTP act.
The new Chief Justice has also spoken on matters of gender parity in the armed forces, the Right to Privacy, the Aadhaar act, and the Bhima-Koregaon case. With his strong legal background and commitment to justice, Though Chandrachud was expected to leave a significant mark on the Indian judiciary system during his tenure as Chief Justice of India, he continues to spark controversies since the very beginning of his term and according to many, he is the worst chief justice India ever had.
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