CJI Chandrachud cautions judges against perceiving themselves as deities in temples of justice

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has shown his reluctance to people calling the courts 'temples of justice,' noting that there was a 'grave' danger in the judges perceiving themselves as the deities of those temples.

Addressing a regional conference of the National Judicial Academy in Kolkata on Saturday, the CJI said that if a court was likened to a temple of justice, it would postulate that the judges were in the position of a deity.

When judges were addressed as 'Honour' or as 'Lordship' or 'Ladyship', there was a very grave danger that they perceived themselves as deities in those temples, noted the CJI, adding that he would rather want to see the judges as those who served the people with compassion and empathy.

He said that he would rather recast the role of the judge as someone, who would serve the people with compassion and empathy.

When they would regard themselves as people who were there to serve others, then it would bring in a notion of compassion and empathy in the judges. They would be judging others, but not being judgmental about others, he added.

The CJI made the remarks shortly after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was also present at the event, called the courts the places of worship.

Banerjee said the Judiciary was an important temple. It was just like a mandir, masjid, gurudwara or girija ghar (church). It was the supreme authority for the delivery of justice to people - the last frontier for getting justice and upholding constitutional rights, she added.

Banerjee also called for the judiciary to be made free of any political bias, stressing that the courts were the people's only hope for saving the democracy and constitution.

She said it was not her intention to manhandle or humiliate anyone. However, her submission was that no political bias should be there in the judiciary. The judiciary must be honest, absolutely pure, and sacred, which should let the people do the pooja, noted the Chief Minister.