D.Y. Chandrachud

D.Y. Chandrachud

Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India

Assumed Office13th May, 2016

Retired On10th Nov, 2024

Previously

Chief Justice of Allahabad high CourtOctober 31st 2013

Permanent Judge of Bombay High CourtMarch 29th 2000

Senior Advocate, Bombay High CourtJune 1998-March 29th 2000

Additional Solicitor General for Union of India1998-March 28th 2000

Age: 62

Tracked Cases: 24

Education

Doctor of Juridical SciencesHarvard University

LLMHarvard University

LLBDelhi University

Honours in Economics and MathematicsSt. Stephen's College, Delhi

Schooling St. Columba's , Delhi

Profile

Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud completed his LLB at Delhi University. He then studied at Harvard University after receiving the prestigious Inlaks Scholarship. At Harvard, he completed his Masters in Law (LLM) and Doctorate in Juridical Sciences (SJD).

 

Chandrachud J practiced as an advocate in the Supreme Court and the High Courts of Gujarat, Calcutta, Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi before becoming a judge of the Bombay High Court.  He appeared before the Company Law Board, the Monopolies & Restricted Trade Practices (MRTP) Commission, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) Board and National and State Commissions. He was designated as Senior Advocate by the Bombay High Court in 1998. He served as the Additional Solicitor General of India from 1998 to 2000. As an advocate, Justice Chandrachud’s most significant cases have involved constitutional and administrative law, the rights of HIV+ workers, religious and linguistic minority rights, and labour and industrial laws. 

 

On 29 March, 2000 he was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court. He took oath as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court on 31 October, 2013.

 

After J Lalit’s retirement, Chandrachud J will likely serve as the 50th Chief Justice of India from November 2022. He is the son of the 16th and longest-serving Chief Justice of India Justice YV  Chandrachud. 

 

Notable Judgments

In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India Chandrachud J, as sole dissenter, held that the Aadhaar was unconstitutionally passed as a Money Bill. He also reviewed arguments on specific provisions of the Act which affected individuals’ privacy, dignity and individual autonomy.

 

Chandrachud J wrote a separate concurring opinion in Navtej Johar v Union of India that decriminalised section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and made same-sex intercourse legal. He held section 377 to be an ‘anachronistic colonial law’, which violated the fundamental rights to equality, freedom of expression, life and privacy. He added that this could only be seen as a first step in guaranteeing LGBT individuals their constitutional rights. 

 

His concurring opinion in Shafin Jahan v Ashokan K.M.  upheld Hadiya’s choice of religion and marriage partner. Hadiya had converted to Islam and married the petitioner Shafin Jahan, at which point her parents alleged that she had been brain washed. Justice Chandrachud reiterated that an adult’s right to make decisions in marriage or religion falls within her zone of privacy.

 

In Indian Young Lawyers Association v State of Kerala, Chandrachud J held that the exclusion of women between the ages of 10-50 years from Sabarimala Temple violated constitutional morality and subverted personal autonomy, liberty, and dignity.  Uniquely, he held that the custom also violated Article 17, which prohibits untouchability, as it assigns a notion of impurity to women.    

 

Chandrachud J dissented in Romila Thapar v Union of India, regarding the arrest of 5 human rights activists for allegedly instigating violence at Bhima Koregaon and participating in a criminal conspiracy against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He stated that the issue was whether the arrests violated the accused’s fundamental rights to free expression and personal liberty guaranteed by Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution. He suggested that a Special Investigation Team probe the arrest of the activists.

 

 In his concurring opinion in Government of NCT of Delhi v Union of India , Chandrachud J held that the Lieutenant Governor is not the executive head of Delhi. Since representative democracy is an essential feature of the executive, it must be led by the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers. He held that the Lieutenant Governor is bound by the Chief Minister’s advice and has no independent power under the Constitution.

 

 Chandrachud J dismissed the demand for an enquiry into the circumstances of Judge Loya’s death in Tehseen Poonawalla v Union of India . Judge Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

 

 In Abhiram Singh v C.D. Commachen The majority in the seven-bench Constitution bench of the Supreme Court held that electoral candidates cannot seek votes on the grounds of religion. Chandrachud J delivered the dissenting opinion in the case. He differentiated between blanket communal appeals and grievance-based communal appeals to rule that only the former is prohibited under Representation of People Act, 1951.

 

 In August 2017, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the Constitution of India guarantees a fundamental right to privacy. Chandrachud J authored the majority decision in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India  speaking for himself and Khehar J, RK Agarwal J and Abdul Nazeer J. He recognised the right to privacy and dignity as an intrinsic part of the right to life.

 

 In Joseph Shine v Union of India Chandrachud J concurred with the majority opinion in decriminalising adultery. He found that section 497 IPC violated Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. He read down section 198(2) CrPC. He opined that decriminalising adultery was rooted in patriarchal notions and had resulted in centuries of female subjugation.