Although increased government action is necessary during a public health emergency, it is the duty of courts to ensure accountability and protect rights of citizens, Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud said Sunday.
“All emergencies, including a public health crisis that we are in vest substantial powers in the executive. During a public health
crisis, increased government action may be necessary to preserve public health and welfare. However, irrespective of governmental action and restrictions, it is above all, the duty of courts — civil, criminal and constitutional — to protect the rights of citizens and ensure governmental accountability and the rule of law,” he said.
The judge, who heads the e-committee of the SC that is tasked with overseeing the digitisation of the court, was speaking at a webinar organised by Nyaya Forum of National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad on the topic ‘Future of Virtual Courts and Access to Justice in India’.
“I want to dissuade people from the idea that virtual court hearings are some sort of panacea. We had no choice in the pandemic but to resort to this. They will not be able to replace physical court hearings,” Justice Chandrachud said.