Won't comment on new criminal laws, says CJI Chandrachud

Speaking at a court foundation event, Chandrachud emphasised that courts serve the Constitution and litigants, not power

CJI DY Chandrachud refused to comment on the 3 criminal laws (photo: IANS)
CJI DY Chandrachud refused to comment on the 3 criminal laws (photo: IANS)


Amid a heated debate over the three new criminal laws, Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud on Tuesday, 2 July refused to comment on them, saying the issues arising from these statutes were pending before the Supreme Court.

The new laws -- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) -- came into effect across the country from July 1 and replaced the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

Recently, a PIL was filed in the top court seeking a stay on the new criminal laws. It also challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions in these laws.

"These are issues which are sub-judice before the Supreme Court, maybe possibly the other high courts. Therefore, I should not be speaking on anything which is likely to come up before the court," the CJI said while speaking to the media after an event to mark the foundation stone-laying ceremony at Karkardooma, Shastri Park and Rohini for new trial court buildings in the capital.

In his speech at the event, Chandrachud asserted that the courts only subserve the Constitution and are in service of no one but the litigants.

"Our courts are not merely sights of sovereign power but are also essential public service providers," he said.

"The foundation of a court must be sound – both in its structural and philosophical capacity. It must subserve no might but the Constitution and be in service of no one but the litigants," the CJI emphasised.

He also said court premises are not just made of bricks and concrete, and are intended to realise the virtues of justice and the rule of law.

"Court premises, like all buildings, are not just made of bricks and concrete. They are made up of hope. Courts are made to realise the virtues of justice and the rule of law. Every case that is being filed before us is with that hope for justice. When we invest in the safety, accessibility and comfort of our judges, lawyers and litigants, we build more than just an efficient system -- we make a just and inclusive system," he said.

The CJI stated that the new complexes will enhance the efficiency of the courts and reduce the pendency of cases.

Besides the CJI, Supreme Court judges Sanjiv Khanna and Hima Kohli, Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Manmohan and Delhi minister Atishi were present at the function.

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