"Judges Should Serve with Compassion, Not as Deities," Says CJI Chandrachud


Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday expressed his reservations about referring to courts as "temples of justice," cautioning against the perception of judges as deities within these "temples." His remarks came during a regional conference of the National Judicial Academy in Kolkata, where he addressed the potential dangers of such exalted views.

"When we are addressed as 'Honour' or as 'Lordship' or 'Ladyship', there is a very grave danger ... and people say that the court is a temple of justice. There is a grave danger that we perceive ourselves as deities in those temples," Justice Chandrachud stated. He emphasized that, although he holds his personal values dearly, he feels reticent about the analogy of courts being temples, as it implies judges hold a deity-like status.

Justice Chandrachud articulated a vision of judges as public servants, dedicated to administering justice with compassion and empathy. "I would rather recast the role of the judge as a server of the people. When you regard yourselves as people who are there to serve others, then you bring in the notion of compassion, of empathy, of judging others but not being judgmental about others," he said.

These comments followed an address by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who equated the judiciary with places of worship such as temples, mosques, gurdwaras, and churches. "Judiciary is an important temple for us. It is just like mandir, masjid, gurudwara, and girja (church). It is our supreme authority for the delivery of justice to people ... the last frontier for getting justice and upholding constitutional rights," Banerjee remarked.

Banerjee also emphasized the importance of maintaining a judiciary free from political bias, highlighting its role as the ultimate safeguard for democracy and constitutional rights. "It is not my intention to manhandle or humiliate anyone. But my submission and my kind submission is that please see that no political bias is there in the judiciary. The judiciary must be pure, honest, absolutely pure, sacred, and let the people do the Pooja," she urged. The differing perspectives of Justice Chandrachud and Chief Minister Banerjee underscore a significant dialogue about the role and perception of the judiciary in India. 

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer