AGENCYNew Delhi: It has been only three-and-half years since his elevation as the judge of the Supreme Court, but Justice D Y Chandrachud has been already a part of several benches which delivered landmarks judgements in high-profile cases like the Ayodhya land dispute. Be it the matter of adultery or right to privacy, decriminalising section 377 of the IPC or the contentious Sabarimala issue or validity of Aadhaar scheme, Justice Chandrachud had penned path-breaking judgements. He was in the scheme of things for the setting up of five-judge bench from its inception to hear the Ayodhya dispute as Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has chosen only those judges who by seniority would have become the CJI. Justice Chandrachud by his seniority would become the CJI from November 9, 2022 to November 10, 2024. Notwithstanding these facts, Justice Chandrachud, third in seniority to Justice Gogoi and Justice S A Bobde, proactively involved himself during the Ayodhya hearing and put some searching question to the counsel for both Muslim and Hindu sides in the litigation. Justice Chandrachud, son of longest serving Chief Justice of India Y V Chnadrachud, wrote the lead judgement for the nine-judge constitution bench in the Justice K S Puttaswamy versus Union of India case in which it was unanimously held that the right to privacy constituted a fundamental right under the Constitution. He was also part of a five-judge Constitution bench unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex between consenting adults, saying it violated the rights to equality. In another five-judge bench, Justice Chandrachud in a unanimous verdict held Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised adultery, to be unconstitutional on the ground of being arbitrary, archaic and violative of the right to equality and privacy. The judge, who was elevated to the apex court on May 13, 2016, also concurred with the majority verdict in Indian Young Lawyers Association versus State of Kerala, popularly called the Sabarimala case, in holding that the practice of prohibiting women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of women’s fundamental rights. However, in a strong dissent, Justice Chandrachud differed with other members of the 5-judge Constitution bench which by a majority verdict upheld the constitutional validity of the unique biometric identity number Aadhaar. Justice Chandrachud held Aadhaar to be unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights. Justice Chandrachud was part of the landmark judgment by a five-judge Constitution bench which recognised ‘living will’ made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia. He was also part of the Constitution bench which decided the tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over the powers to administer the national capital. He was Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court from October 31, 2013 till his elevation to the Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud became Judge of the Bombay High Court from March 29, 2000 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
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