Allahabad: Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, has a message for the Indian judiciary – stay committed to safeguarding "dialogue and dissent" which are essential characteristics of a democratic society.
Speaking at a function to mark 150th anniversary of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Chandrachud said judges should function in a manner so as to promote dialogue and protect dissent.
"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," he said.
The Allahabad HC CJ also cautioned against a fixated view of laws.
"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," he stated.
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.”
Justice Chandrachud's remarks hold significance as they have come amidst the debate over continuance of 'colonial' laws such as those pertaining to sedition and Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality.
Laws pertaining to sedition became a subject of discussion following the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and others in connection with an event on Afzal Guru, where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.