The CJI underscored the need for "self-reflection and counselling within the judiciary". (File)
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has written to Chief Justices of High Courts, taking exception to an instance of a judge calling for “explanation” about the inconveniences he faced during a train journey. The incident, Justice Chandrachud wrote, has given rise to “justifiable disquiet both within and outside the judiciary”. He also underscored the need for “self-reflection and counselling within the judiciary”.
The judge in question had asked the court Registrar to call for an explanation from the regional railway manager after he failed to get refreshments or any response from the TTE or the railway police. The letter from the Registrar did so, adding that the incident had caused “great inconvenience and displeasure to His Lordship”.
In his note, Justice Chandrachud pointed out that a High Court “does not possess disciplinary jurisdiction” over railway personnel.
“Protocol ‘facilities' which are made available to judges should not be utilized to assert a claim to privilege which sets them apart from society or as a manifestation of power or authority. A wise exercise of judicial authority, both on and off the bench, is what sustains the credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary and the confidence which society has in its judges,” he wrote.
Requesting the Chief Justices to share his concern, he added, “Protocol facilities... should not be used in a manner that is liable to result in inconvenience to others or to bring public criticism of the judiciary."
Besides his judgments in courtroom, Chief Justice Chandrachud has made headlines with some unconventional moves, including his visits to the Supreme Court cafeteria, his views on highlighting the work of back offices of the judiciary and move to rename certain posts in the Supreme Court, including that of sanitation workers.