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‘In humanitarian crisis, SC can’t be silent spectator’ — full text of Justice Chandrachud speech

Speaking at Indo-US Joint Summer Conference, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud spoke on the role of Supreme Court 'in protecting fundamental rights in challenging times'.

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New Delhi: “The criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or for the harassment of citizens,” Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud said speaking at the Indo-US Joint Summer conference Monday.

The conference was organised by the American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Law Section, and the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF).

Justice Chandrachud’s address emphasised the “role of the Supreme Court in protecting fundamental rights in challenging times”.

He also illustrated the similarities between the Supreme Court of India and the Supreme Court of the United States while referring to the ‘Constitutional relationship’ between the two countries.

Citing examples of the apex court’s intervention during the Covid crisis, the judge said the court, as the guardian of the Constitution, has to “put a break where executive or legislative actions infringe fundamental human rights”.

“The Supreme Court was cautious that it could not transgress into the domain of
policymaking and usurp the role of the executive. However, in a humanitarian crisis, it
could not stand as a silent spectator,” he said.

Read the full text here:

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