Monday, October 2, 2023

CJI Chandrachud terms integrity as core of legal profession, which can either make or mar a legal career

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Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has said that integrity was the core of a legal profession, which could make the career of those who maintained it or mar the profession not maintaining it.

Speaking at an event on the theme ‘Enhancing collaboration between Advocates & Judges: Towards strengthening legal system’ at Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on Sunday, the CJI said that the legal profession would either continue to thrive or would self-destruct based on whether those who were part of the system maintained their integrity or not.

He said integrity was not eroded by one thunderstorm, but by small, little concessions and compromises made by lawyers and judges, the CJI said while speaking at an event on the theme ‘Enhancing collaboration between Advocates & Judges: Towards strengthening legal system’.

He said everyone slept with their conscience. A person could fool the whole world, but not his conscience. It would keep on asking questions every night. 

He said lawyers get respect when they respect judges and judges get respect when they respect lawyers, adding that mutual respect would take place when there was realisation that both were part of the same wheel of justice.

He mentioned the less number of women in the judiciary, stating that gender was not a woman’s issue alone and was equally a man’s issue.

He stressed on creation of an equal opportunity profession, stating that the composition of the legal profession today would define it 30 or 40 years down the line.

As per the CJI, when he was asked why the judiciary didn’t have enough women judges, he told them not to look at the collegiums today, but at the society 20-25 years ago, since the judges entering the higher judiciary today were members of the bar from 20-25 years ago

Noting that the Collegium had to select among the talent available at the bar, he said it became the duty of the judges and lawyers, being key stakeholders in the legal profession, to ensure that women were given an appropriate voice in the legal system.

The CJI further advised the lawyers to adopt technology and keep pace with time to manage the expectations of people.

Regarding elimination of barriers to access to justice, he said the judiciary was trying to manage the expectations of Indian people by developing and adopting various technology related initiatives such as virtual courts and e-filing. 

The lawyers must adopt technology. They cannot say today that they come from the rural part, he added. 

The CJI mentioned the ESCR, a free service providing access to all judgments of the apex court, noting that 36,000 judgments (were available) free of charge. He said they were about to launch the digital SCR. 

Regarding the translation of all judgments of the Supreme Court in all Indian languages, including Marathi, he said the purpose of this was to ensure that young lawyers and law students were not denied access to law just because they did not understand English

Asserting that the best minds were now coming into the legal profession, he said senior lawyers should spend a few hours a week teaching courses at law universities, while retired judges should play an active role in imparting their knowledge and experience to law students.

He further said that it was the responsibility of seniors in the profession to see that young lawyers had knowledge about substantive law and procedure to enter judicial service.

The CJI suggested the seniors to pay the junior lawyers a better stipend, saying that the seniors had this perception that young juniors came to them for learning. However, the junior lawyers teach the seniors many things which they didn’t know about,’ he added.

Organised by the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court and Advocate Association of Bombay High Court, the event marked the 75th Marathwada Liberation Day, also known as Marathwada Mukti Sangram Din.

The CJI unfurled the national flag at the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court, in accordance with the annual tradition to commemorate a day of historic significance to Marathwada, Maharashtra and the nation.

Justice Abhay Oka, Justice Deepankar Datta, Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay, Justice PV Varale, Justice SV Gangapurwala, Justice RV Ghuge, Advocate General Virendra Saraf, President of Advocate Association NC Jadhav and Secretary RK Ingole were present on the occasion.

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