Legal Power not Enough for Judge, Stronger tool is Desire to understand Human Life and Problems: CJI Chandrachud

Legal power is not enough for a judge for whom the stronger tool is their desire to understand human life and people’s problems, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to felicitate newly appointed judges- Justices Satish Chandra Sharma, Augustine George Masih, Sandeep Mehta and Prasanna B Varale- Chandrachud said with their elevation, the apex court is once again operating at its maximum mandated strength of 34.

More importantly, the top court would benefit from the diversity of their experience, the CJI said.

“Legal power is not enough for a judge. The stronger tool is their desire to understand human life. The journeys of Justice Sharma, Justice Masih, Justice Mehta and Justice Varale demonstrate their commitment to understanding human life and to improving it with the help of our laws,” Chandrachud said.

The CJI said there is a vast body of literature on how judges must decide and what goes into legal decision-making in general.

“While the knowledge of the law and the context of its enactments are important, it is, ultimately, the understanding of people’s problems that makes us better lawyers and judges,” he said.

Chandrachud said in the moments of imbalance, we are unlikely to find solutions in very complicated theoretical statements of the law or policy.

“The stabilizing influence in such moments of crisis is often a very simple idea of justice. The strength of a simple idea lies in the fact that it comes from the vast experience of a judge as a lawyer, as a student of the law and as a discerning observing member of this society,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Justice Sharma said his elevation to the Supreme Court was the highest honour for him.

“This is a dream come true. To serve in apex court of the land is unarguably the highest honour for any person in the legal profession,” he said.

Justice Masih said legal profession is an area where, if you work hard, you can achieve what you want and your talent and efforts will be recognised.

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“There’s always chance of you moving up. We always hear so much about who has been elevated to the bench. But here’s a person standing in front of you who had no connection with law and is a first-generation lawyer,” he said.

Justice Mehta thanked the senior judges with whom he has sat as a part of bench so far, and said, “They have guided me in the nitty-gritty in an entirely new work environment, helping me overcome the challenge of a new ball game, which is really quite daunting.”

Justice Varale described Bar and Bench as the two wheels of the chariot of justice.

Attorney General R Venkataramani said during Chandrachud’s tenure as the Chief Justice of India, 15-16 judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court. Chandrachud took over as the CJI in November 2022.

SCBA president Adish C Aggarwala lauded the Supreme Court collegium for picking talented judges.

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