It is not an easy job…my biggest achievement is that I am leaving an undivided court for my successor
– Y.V Chandrachud
“On my first day to court, my father introduced me to Justice Chandrachud who was then a public prosecutor. My father had said that this young man will be the Chief Justice Of India one day,”Retired Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna, remembering Hon’ble Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, as a thorough gentlemen and a scholar
First appointed judge to the Supreme Court Of India and the longest- serving Chief Justice in India’s history, Justice Yashwant Vishnu Chandrachud, a true jurist, was known to be a liberal judge and for his path breaking judgements. Justice Y.V Chandrachud was also known from the name “Iron Hands”.
Justice Y.V Chandrachud was born in Pune on 12th July 1920 and died on 14th July 2008 at Bombay Hospital on Monday morning. He was alert till his last breath said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud his son and they even celebrated his 88th birthday on Saturday. India has lost one of its great legends who left his imprint on thousands of pages of judgments.
He graduated with History and Economics in 1940 from the Elphinstone College, Bombay and obtained his law degree in 1942 from ILS Law College, Pune. He enrolled as an advocate in High court of Bombay in 1943. He was a part time law professor in government law college, Bombay from 1949 to 1952. He was appointed as judge in High court of Bombay in 19th March 1961 and Judge Supreme Court in 28th August 1972. He was appointed as the Chief Justice Of India in 22nd August 1978 and remained the Chief Justice for next 7 years and 4 months.
Justice Y.V Chandrachud was appointed as Chief Justice Of India during the term of Janata Government, under Prime Minister Morarji Desai. When Indira Gandhi’s congress government came back to power a few years later, Justice Y.V Chandrachud became a strong opponent of government and was known for constantly defending the independence of Judiciary.
Justice Dhananjaya Yashwant Chandrachud who is currently acting as a Supreme Court Judge is his son. Remembering his father on various occasion recollected how the former CJI upheld the constitutional framework over everything else. Justice D.Y Chandrachud mentioned, How his father had a special place for criminal law in his heart and the former CJI’s verdicts served a reformative role, rather than only serve the, “penological purpose”
SOME OF HIS LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS
Minerva Mills V. Union Of India 1980- In this case he had laid down that how a balance between fundamental rights and directive principles had to be achieved. Then the court unanimously ruled that power of the parliament of India to amend the constitution is limited by the constitution. The parliament cannot emasculate the fundamental rights of individual, including the right to liberty and equality.
Mohd Ahmad Khan V. Shah Bano Begum 1985 – This case is popularly known as The Shah Bano Case. He had ruled that Muslim women were entitled to claim maintenance from husbands under Civil Procedure Code, which overrides Muslim Personal Law.
ADM Jabalpur V. Shivkant Shukla 1976 – This case is also known as The Habeas Corpus Case held that during an emergency the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India to the citizens shall not be available. All rights shall stand extinguished in the light of presidential order. Moreover, it was held that none of the citizens of the country shall have the option of moving the High Court for writ of Habeas Corpus if the Presidential Order said so and along with that all other proceedings of the court shall remain suspended till the emergency continues.
Justice Chandrachud along with Justices A.N. Ray, P.N. Bhagwati, and M.H. Beg decided that the right to life itself could be suspended during an emergency. The only dissenting opinion was from Justice H. R. Khanna in the case.
Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia V. State Of Punjab 1980 – He clearly showed his empathy for criminal law where he laid down the law of anticipatory bail. He has held that anticipatory bail must be left to judges who have the experience to take a wise decision.
Olga Tellis V. Bombay Municipal Corpn 1985 – In this case he had extended Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution to slum dwellers, ruling that they had the right to a roof over their heads.
Chief Justice Y.V Chandrachud has passed into the great beyond. His place in history is secure as one of the greatest legal luminaries. He will be remembered as a great lawyer, a great judge and a gentle colossus.
ImageSource: Bar and Bench
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