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Climate Change Cannot be Ignored, Says CJI

Flagging recent heatwaves followed by heavy rainfall in Delhi, Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud on Tuesday said climate change cannot be ignored and stressed the need to adopt a “green lifestyle” to reduce carbon emissions.

The CJI was speaking at a foundation stone-laying ceremony at Karkardooma, Shastri Park and Rohini here for trial court buildings in the capital.

“This year, Delhi experienced the hottest-recorded weather. We have experienced two heatwaves followed by record-breaking rain in a single day. Our infrastructure must reflect the reality we live in — climate change can no longer be ignored.

“One crucial step is to incorporate a green lifestyle into our daily lives, which includes reducing carbon emissions. I was delighted to know that the new buildings will focus on heat-island mitigation and reduce environmental footprint,” he said.

The CJI referred to an 18th-century case, in which one Rama Kamati’s servant was subjected to custodial torture to confess his employer’s criminality. Even Kamati was convicted in the case and he later died in prison.

“Our legal and constitutional system is fundamentally premised on the virtues of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Courts are the guardian of these foundational virtues. We uphold them by enforcing rights-based substantive laws and fairness-based procedural laws,” Justice Chandrachud said, adding that in that case, it later came to light that the evidence against the convict was fabricated.

“The story of Rama Kamati is a reminder that rough, ready and handy justice is an anathema to the rule of law and procedural guarantees, which we have all come to cherish. 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,” he said.

The CJI said courts are not merely sights of sovereign power but are also essential public service providers.

Laying down the foundation stone, he said, “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 new complexes will enhance the efficiency of the courts and reduce the pendency of cases.

“Courts are a repository of precedents and an accumulation of social histories. Judges apply the present law, drawing upon the past law to shape the future law. Through their rulings, they bridge historical legal principles with contemporary issues, crafting the legal landscape for tomorrow,” Justice Chandrachud added.

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

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