Hon’ble Dr. Justice DY Chandrachud
Judge, Supreme Court
Chairman of the Supreme Court E-Committee
It is indeed heartening to come across your Lordship’s statement as reported in Livelaw that we need to move from feudal to a more modern and futuristic Indian judiciary and that that change can happen only if our mindset changes. Your Lordship was further quoted to have said “and I do believe that technology provides us with a very powerful means of changing feudal practices within indian judiciary”. Your Lordship has even lamented the practice of District judges being made to wait when a judge of a high court is coming into the district at the border. District judges are not allowed to sit when they talk to the High court judges.
Chief Justice UL Bhatt, before whom I had the good fortune appear in the 1980s as a lawyer when he was a judge of the Kerala High Court, in the his book, ‘Story of a Chief Justice’, lamented about the practice of Chief Justices of the High Court going to the airport to receive senior judges who were members of the collegium and attributed it entirely to the Collegium system, which I personally consider to be the greatest calamity so far as our constitution is concerned. The unkindest cut is that even not-so-junior lawyers, misconceive the Collegium to be part of the constitution. It is a matter of great vindication for me that in many areas our approach to issues concerning the profession and the common consumer of justice, are common, though the differences remain.
I believe the Indian judiciary is far more unjust, feudal and tyrannical than even the medieval times. Even the top most and the highest paid lawyer in this country still would use phrases like “I bow down to your Lordships” for no rhyme or reason. The questions of law which a lawyer would raise in the Supreme Court are matters of public concern. No lawyer should feel hesitant to raise it in the open. However, even the senior most lawyer in the Supreme Court still would only say “the question I ask to myself”.
We have been fortunate that we have had many noble judges of great integrity and erudition. Your Lordship’s father, Justice YV Chandrachud, who adorned the office of the CJI, so too legends like Justices Vivian Bose, Subarao, Mathew, Krishna Iyer, Justice Khanna.. the list is not short. But there is a dark side to the Indian judiciary. There are many judges in in the Supreme Court, High Court and subordinate judiciary who ill treat the litigant public and lawyers so badly, rudely, I have no words to fully describe. Power is the greatest of intoxication. Many judges behave as if they are King Emperors.
Technology, however, as Livelaw has quoted your Lordship, “provides us with a very powerful means of changing feudal practices within Indian judiciary. Justice Krishna Iyer did not mince his words when he described judges who ill treat lawyers and litigant as “rogues in robes”. No High Court in India, not even Kerala, my home state, nor Bombay, where I currently reside, is an exception to that. In all humility, I must say, I too felt that video recording of Court proceedings and making available such records to the litigant public and live streaming of Court proceedings is a panacea for almost all the ills the Indian judiciary faces today. I started my campaign for video recording in the year 2010. All the petitions which I filed in this regard were rejected, one even at your Lordship’s hands. As Shakespeare said, all that ends well, is well. The pandemic made online hearing a necessity, that necessity has become a virtue now.
I am a man of no consequence. Your Lordships have all the power, resources, means, and certainly the good will and determination to make my dream, the dream of millions of common people, a reality. It is ny earnest request that the Supreme Court lead by example. It should in no loss of time start live streaming of Court proceedings, and making available a copy of such records to the litigant public as is the practice in many countries.
I hope I will have the privilege of an acknowledgment of this letter at your Lordship’s hands.
With most respectful regards,
Mathews J. Nedumpara
- January 31, 2023
August 12, 2019
November 15, 2020
- September 29, 2023