"Was Trolled For Shifting In Chair During Hearing": Chief Justice

He was speaking at the 21st Biennial State Level Conference of Judicial Officers titled organised by the Karnataka State Judicial Officer's Association.

'Was Trolled For Shifting In Chair During Hearing': Chief Justice

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said a judge overwhelmed with work may struggle to perform optimally (File)


Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud recalled a recent incident when he faced "trolling" and "vicious abuse" for adjusting his seating during a hearing and highlighted the need for judicial officers to manage stress and ensure a work-life balance.

He was speaking after inaugurating the 21st Biennial State Level Conference of Judicial Officers titled, "Equity and Excellence for Futuristic Judiciary", organised by the Karnataka State Judicial Officer's Association.

Speaking on work-life balance and stress management - one of the topics of the two-day conference, he said the capacity to manage stress is significant in the life of a judge, especially for district judges.

As judicial officers, they regularly engage with vulnerable litigants. Many of the people who come to the courts are stressed about the injustice caused to them, he said.

"Sometimes in their dealings with us as judges, they cross a line. As Chief Justice of India, I see so many lawyers and litigants crossing the line when they speak to us in court. The answer when these litigants cross a line is not to use the power of contempt (of court), but to understand why they have crossed the line," Justice Chandrachud said.

He said there must be some deep-rooted injustice that the lawyers and their clients were confronting, which is why they sometimes utter things they otherwise would not say.

"In these cases, the responsibility you carry is immense, necessitating a calm and compassionate approach. Maintaining a work-life balance is integral to fulfilling these duties effectively," he advised the judicial officers.

A judge who was overwhelmed with work and unable to prioritise personal time with family and self-care may struggle to perform optimally, Justice Chandrachud said.

"The ability to manage stress and achieve work-life balance is not separate from but rather intertwined with delivering justice completely. We often tell physicians and surgeons, "Heal thyself". Before you heal others, you must learn how to heal yourself. The same is true about judges as well," he said.

The CJI shared a recent personal experience.

He said he was trolled recently based on the live-streaming of an important hearing.

"Just four or five days ago when I was hearing a case, I had a little pain in my back. All I did was place my elbows in my armchair in the court and shift my position in the chair," Justice Chandrachud said.

He said several comments on social media alleged that the Chief Justice of India is "so arrogant" that he got up in the middle of an important argument in court.

"What they didn't tell you was that all I did was only shift my position in the chair. Twenty four years of judging can be a little strenuous which I have put in. I didn't leave the court. I only shifted my position but I was subject to vicious abuse and trolling. The knives were out but I do believe that our shoulders are broad enough and the ultimate confidence we have is of common citizens' in the work we do,” he noted.

The judges in the Taluk level courts do not have protection which the judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts enjoy.

He recalled an incident where a young civil judge of a junior division was threatened by a member of the bar that if he did not behave with him properly then he would get him transferred.

The CJI said when he was the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, he constantly heard about how young, middle-level, and senior-level judges were treated.

"You (judicial officers in Karnataka) are blessed to belong to a state where these stories are only heard about and not witnessed during your day-to-day work," he noted.

The CJI hailed the judiciary in Karnataka for the speedy disposal of cases.

He praised the state government for its support to provide infrastructure for the district judiciary.

"I was amazed when I learned the statistics. Between January 1, 2023, and March 23, 2024, 21.25 lakh cases were instituted in the district judiciary in Karnataka. As many as 20.62 lakh cases have been disposed of. So we are short by a few thousand... this is a performance to replicate and be emulated across the country," the CJI said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)