NDTV Exclusive - "No Case Too Small For Highest Court": Chief Justice's Message To Citizens

"There is no case which is too small... we treat everyone equally and our mission is to stand by the common people," the Chief Justice said.

DY Chandrachud is the 50th Chief Justice of India.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court is always there for citizens of India, "irrespective of wealth, social status, caste, religion, or gender or who is in power", and "no case is too small for the highest court of the land", Chief Justice DY Chandrachud told NDTV's Ashish Bhargava in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

In a wide-ranging discussion focused on the use of technology to ensure men and women across the country can access every level of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice told NDTV, "I want to give this message to all - we are always there for the common citizens."

"Sometimes I get e-mails in the middle of the night. Once there was a woman who needed medical termination of a pregnancy... my staff contacted me and we constituted a bench the next day," he said.

"Kisi ka ghar demolish ho gaya... kisi ko usi ke ghar se bahar nikaal diya... kisi ko surrender karna hai lekin vo beemar hai (someone's house may have been demolished... someone may have been thrown out of their house... someone may need to surrender but they are unwell)... all these heart-breaking cases are given the serious attention of the courts," the Chief Justice told NDTV.

"There is no case which is too small... we treat everyone equally and our mission is to stand by the common people. We are conscious of the fact that regardless of who is in power, common people have concerns and the judiciary is the vital element in the preservation of law," he stressed.

The action of the courts, the Chief Justice said is an integral part of the overall fabric of the Constitution of India, and gives it a vital legitimacy. That, he explained, was why he reached out to district courts and met judges at a recently organised conference in Gujarat's Kutch, in which 150 judges took part.

"If a common citizen faces any problem, s/he first goes to a district court. Therefore, I thought it important to meet these judges. You see, when we strengthen the district-level courts we also strengthen the connection of the people with the judiciary," the Chief Justice said.

"I listened to their views there... so we can change our policy-making and connect with the people through these judges, who have a direct interface with common citizens. We get to learn a lot more about the problems of stakeholders in our system - marginalised people, women seeking justice."

This will be followed by a conference of over a thousand judges, the Chief Justice said.

The people of India must have "a sense of faith and confidence in the work we do", he said.

"... once they realise the seriousness with which even the smallest of issues... smallest not for us... but small like someone's pension, a misconceived FIR, someone who has been in jail for several years... we take all these cases very seriously," the Chief Justice explained.

The greatest strength of the Indian judiciary, he said, is that the Supreme Court, the High Court, and all the district courts are "people's courts". All of these were created to ensure justice for all, he said.

On a personal note, the Chief Justice gave an insight into his busy day, which begins at an eye-watering 3.30 am, when the environment around his is calm and he can focus on his yoga.

"My best friend is my wife (Kalpana Chandrachud). She and I follow an ayurvedic diet. We are vegan... I think whatever we eat affects our brain. I think your fitness comes from within... from your mind and heart. You can be as fit as you want..." he said.

Finally, does the Chief Justice, who also has a strict diet that revolves around a grain called ramdana, have a guilty secret? Yes. "I like ice cream on my cheat day," he chuckled.

NDTV is now available on WhatsApp channels. Click on the link to get all the latest updates from NDTV on your chat.