CJI Chandrachud clears air over Justice Gowri's appointment at Harvard Law School

The appointment sparked a debate as Justice Gowri faced allegations of making hate speeches against religious minorities
Photo of Chief Justice of India  DY Chandrachud  | Pic: Sourced
Photo of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud | Pic: Sourced

During an interaction at Harvard Law School on October 21 in its Centre for Legal Profession, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud cleared the air over the appointment of Justice Victoria Gowri to the Madras High Court. The appointment sparked a debate as Justice Gowri faced allegations of making hate speeches against religious minorities. 

In a video clip of the interaction, shared on X by LiveLaw today, November 16, a student from the audience asked the CJI how the appointment was recommended by the collegium, in spite of the opposition. In reply, the CJI explains the process of appointment of judges in India, and how this is a responsible and complicated task.

"Much though we have been promoting transparency in the collegium, we are equally conscious of the fact that when we decide on the future of people who are being appointed as judges, we are dealing with the lives of individuals as well. There is a public interest in understanding what is going on in the system," he says.

"Equally, it's important to understand that the reasons that may lead us to appoint or not appoint a particular judge individually have to deal with several aspects of the personality of the judge. And the grave danger is that if we start putting out everything that goes into the process of appointing judges, good people will not accept the judge, for the simple reason that the scrutiny done to appoint people to a high judicial office is extremely trenchant," the CJI adds.

He then explains that one should not "cold call" someone for making some comments during the time they worked as lawyers and served certain political interests. "One of our greatest judges Justice Krishna, who came up with some of the finest judgments, had a political background," the CJI remarked. He added that the media and civil society ensure that judges stay true to their oath.

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