In line to become the Supreme Court Chief Justice of India later this year, Justice Chandrachud said courts need to “shed their fear”, whether it is about using platforms like Twitter or live streaming of court proceedings.

Justice Chandrachud was speaking at the valedictory ceremony of the first All India District Legal Service Authorities held at Vigyan Bhawan.

He said that technology today has given tools for instant messaging and unidirectional communication through which one can load information and transmit information but the recipient of the information cannot edit or change the information.

Referring to tools like social media platforms, Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud said on Sunday, that the judicial institution has to give up resistance to adopting modern means of communication in order to reach out to the masses and earn the respect of the community at large, or else it will “lose the game”. 

Supreme Court Justice Chandrachud said that courts have been “reticent” to modern means of communication but need to “shed their fear”, whether it is about using platforms like Twitter and Telegram, which are now widely prevalent, or the live streaming of proceedings.

“There is a world of accountability at large and I think we can earn the respect of the community at large provided we adopt and come on the platforms which are so prevalent in the society. The judicial system cannot be left behind if we are to be the harbinger of change,” Justice Chandrachud said at an event.

“Unless, we as a judicial institution, shake this resistance to adopting these means of communications, which are so widespread in our society today, we would perhaps lose the game and I do believe that we are already in the process of losing the game unless we shake this fear as to what would happen if we use modern means of communication,” he said.

“Now it is very important for us, we have been very reticent, the Supreme Court is very reticent, the High Courts are even more reticent and the district court look up to the High Court and therefore they are even more reticent on the use of modern means of communication including Twitter, the Telegram channel,” he said.

Justice Chandrachud, who heads the E-Committee of the Supreme Court which looks after the computerisation of the judiciary, said, 

“I think this resistance to using the means of communication has to change because we can reach out to our citizens by using the language of discourse which is becoming so prevalent in society”.

Pointing to the reservation over adopting live streaming of judicial proceedings in the courts, Justice Chandrachud said, 

“Judges across the board feel well, what will happen if I start live streaming my court proceedings? Will the people start assessing us? Or we will lose the respect of the community if we live stream court proceedings.

“Yes, of course, some of us will lose the respect of the community. But, we will lose the respect of the community by showing to the world at large how we conduct ourselves when we sit there on the dais,” he said, adding it would also be a reminder that the judges have to change the way they have been functioning.

Justice Chandrachud also highlighted several technological interventions which are being adopted by the Supreme Court and the judiciary under the aegis of the E-Committee. 

He said that special focus will be on the institutionalisation of mechanism where data of every convict and undertrial prisoner are available and proceedings from district level to state level can be monitored.

Besides Justice Chandrachud, executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) Justice UU Lalit and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the efforts of District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA) in providing legal aid to the people and giving them access to the justice.