CJI-designate Dr Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, as son of the longest-serving Chief Justice of India, Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud, has an incredible legacy to carry forward, but the man, who has not shied away from setting aside some verdicts delivered even by his father, for the sake of liberal values and to uphold constitutional rights, is sure to have real good understanding of law and the Indian Constitution.
Justice Chandrachud was born on November 11, 1959 to the 16th Chief Justice of India, Y.V. Chandrachud, and Prabha Chandrachud, a singer for All India Radio. He graduated from St. Stephens College in Delhi with a degree in Economics and Mathematics in 1979, before obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the Faculty of Law at Delhi University in 1982.
He studied law at Delhi University in 1982, at a time when few jobs were available to young law graduates. Justice Chandrachud went on to study further at Harvard University, from where he obtained an LL.M degree in 1983, after qualifying for the Inlaks scholarship, and received the Joseph H. Beale prize for securing the highest marks in the Conflict of Laws course.
He stayed at Harvard until 1986 to complete his Doctorate in Juridical Sciences and enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Maharashtra later.
As an Advocate in 1997, he represented a labourer, who was denied further employment by the public corporation he worked for after contracting HIV-AIDS. Justice Chandrachud started focusing on social causes and represented bonded women labourers and people from religious and linguistic minorities, fighting for their rights.
Justice Chandrachud continued legal academics as an Advocate and took up the post of Visiting Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Bombay between 1988 and 1997.
He became a Senior Advocate in June, 1998, at the age of 38, which is rare, as the designation was usually given to Advocates above the age of 40.
Justice Chandrachud was later appointed as Additional Solicitor General of India, a position he held till elevation as a judge of the Bombay High Court on March 29, 2000. This became the turning point in the career of Justice Chandrachud, who while serving alongside Justice Ranjana Desai on a criminal Bench, developed a ‘feminist perspective’ towards the laws and their application on social realities.
He became the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court on October 31, 2013 and held the position till his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016.
Justice Chandrachud became a part of the Supreme Court Collegium on April 24, 2021. The Collegium is a body composed of five senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court, which is responsible for the appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court, as well as High Courts of the country. He was also the executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).