Judges can’t dodge explainability of their decisions: CJI | India News

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Wednesday told a gathering of Chief Justices of J-20 countries, the judicial counterpart of G-20 nations, that judges are neither princes nor sovereigns to dodge the critical responsibility of writing judgments which everyone can understand.
Speaking on ‘Digital transformation and use of technology to enhance judicial efficiency‘ at the Rio de Janeiro J-20 summit in Brazil, Justice Chandrachud said, “As judges, we are neither princes nor sovereigns who are above the explainability requirement ourselves.”
This probably stems from his experience of reading past judgments of the SC and HCs, which though lucidly written, would be Greek and Latin to majority of averagely educated people of India, who would find it even more difficult to fathom the logic behind judgments running into hundreds of pages on important issues, the prime example being the landmark Kesavananda Bharati verdict of 1973.
CJI said judges are primarily service providers and enablers of rights-affirming societies, that is to ensure a society governed by rule of law. “The decision itself and the road leading up to it, must be transparent, understandable to everyone with or without a legal education and must be broad enough for everyone to walk alongside,” he said.
He was commenting on a paragraph from Alexander Bickel’s ‘The Least Dangerous Branch’, which read: “Judges are after all perhaps the only public functionaries who are perched on a raised platform, who punish for contempt, and make important decisions about the lives of others in discrete private chambers, without the fear of electoral losses”; and Ronald Dworkin’s ‘Law’s Empire’ which stated – “the courts are capitals of law’s empire and judges are its princes.” Explaining Indian judiciary’s rapid strides to optimise use of information technology in justice dispensation, CJI Chandrachud said petitions can now be filed in the SC by the click of a button and that SC’s case management system, developed on Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS), is the largest in the world.

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