Legal profession will thrive or self-destruct depending on how we maintain our integrity, says CJI Chandrachud

Our profession will continue to thrive or it will self-destruct based on whether we do or do not maintain our integrity, Chief Justice of India Dhananjay Chandrachud said here on Sunday.

Integrity is the core of the legal profession, the CJI asserted.

Integrity is not eroded by one thunderstorm, it gets eroded by small, little concessions and compromises made by lawyers and judges, the CJI said while speaking at the an event on the theme ‘Enhancing collaboration between Advocates & Judges: Towards strengthening legal system’.

“Our profession will continue to thrive or it will self-destruct based on whether we do or do not maintain our integrity. Integrity is eroded not by one thunderstorm, it erodes by small little concessions and compromises which are made by lawyers and judges,” he said.

“We all sleep with our conscience. You can fool the whole world but can’t fool your conscience. It keeps on asking questions every night. Integrity is the core of the legal profession. With integrity we will either continue to survive or we will self-destruct,” the CJI added.

Lawyers get respect when they respect judges and judges get respect when they respect lawyers, and the mutual respect takes place when there is realisation that both are part of the same wheel of justice, he said.

Talking about women in the judiciary, he said gender is not a woman’s issue alone and it was equally a man’s issue.

“I believe one significant challenge before the Indian legal profession is to create an equal opportunity profession. Because the composition of the legal profession today will define it 30 or 40 years down the line,” CJI Chandrachud said.

“When I am asked why we don’t have enough women judges, I tell them don’t look at the collegiums today because it has to select among the talent available at the bar. You have to look at the status of our society 30-20 years ago. The judges who are entering higher judiciary today are members of the bar from 20-25 years ago,” he said.

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As key stakeholders in the legal profession it is for the judges and lawyers to ensure women are given an appropriate voice in the legal system, he added.

The CJI’s lecture, at Mahatma Gandhi Mission University here, was organized by Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court and Advocate Association of Bombay High Court here.

Justices Abhay Oka, Deepankar Datta, Devendra Kumar Upadhyay, PV Varale, SV Gangapurwala, RV Ghuge, Advocate General Virendra Saraf, President of Advocate Association NC Jadhav and Secretary RK Ingole were present at the event.

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