Judiciary should safeguard dialogue and dissent: CJ

Allahabad, Mar 14 (PTI):Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud. File photo
Judiciary should be committed to safeguarding “dialogue and dissent” which are essential characteristics of a democratic society, Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud said today.

“Judges, in the administration of justice, ought to make a wise use of judicial powers. They need to discharge their duties in a manner that promotes dialogue and protects dissent. This is because dialogue and dissent are essential for any democracy to survive and function,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Cautioning against a fixated view of laws, he said, “Law tends to follow precedents. But it must be kept in mind that administration of justice also necessarily involves interpretation of laws, that may have been laid down ages ago, in accordance with contemporary needs and challenges”.

Quoting Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Justice Chandrachud said “in his book Idea of Justice, Sen has eloquently stated that law is not all about ‘niti’ – which is the Sanskrit word for rules. It is also about ‘nyay’ – which entails enforcement of law in a manner that is just. The principles of dialogue and justice are a yardstick against which the justness of enforcement of a law could be gauged”.

The remarks come at a time when demands are being raised for removal of laws like those pertaining to sedition, decried by many as a “colonial” concept, and sections of penal code which criminalize homosexual relationships between consenting adults.

The Chief Justice was delivering the welcome speech at a function organized on the occasion of sesquicentennial celebrations of the Allahabad High Court, where President Pranab Mukherjee was present as the Chief Guest, sharing the dais with Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda.

In the audience were a large number of noted jurists, including a serving and retired judges of the Supreme Court, West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi – who has practised law here for long – and Chief Justices of a number of high courts.

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