Diversity has intrinsic worth and furthers our understanding of fairness, and social justice: Justice Chandrachud
Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday said there is still a need for “structural changes” to ensure that the “positive legal impact” of the apex court’s decision is to allow same-sex relationships to “remove marginalized queer people”.
“While the decriminalisation of Section 377 has enabled queer people to emerge as legally empowered citizens and demand their rights, structural changes are still needed to ensure that we marginalise these positive legal impacts. can extend to those living in the queue, who continue to face intersectional harassment,” Justice Chandrachud said.
“Certain groups of queer people, due to their caste and class positions, are more susceptible and vulnerable to the abuse of the law, both in terms of symbolic and material harm,” he said, delivering the inaugural lecture for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at IIT- Delhi.
Justice Chandrachud recalled that Tuesday “is also a special occasion, as we get an opportunity to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalise Section 377 of the IPC in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India”.
On September 5, 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench of the SC read out the provision, saying it was violative of Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution as it criminalised sexual acts of consenting adults in private.
Quoting from the judgment — which said that “our Constitution, above all, is an essay in the approval of diversity. It is founded on a vision of an inclusive society which accommodates plural ways of life” — Justice Chandrachud said, “What it signifies for all our universities and institutes of higher education is that they must look like the India they represent.”
He said, “Excellence is generally understood in ‘personal terms’, as an indication of individual merit, individual ability, individual hard work. However, by focusing on the individual, we often denote privilege historically earned Over the years, families and communities have acquired different types of capital at different levels – economic capital, cultural capital, and social capital. The privileges enjoyed by the so-called ‘general class’ are not limited to access to English-medium schooling, coaching centers, but also include the cultural and social capital inherited from their families.”
He said that “people belonging to different genders, regions, castes and socio-economic backgrounds bring their own unique experiences, ideas, values , and perspectives by asking new questions and finding unique solutions.”
On the aspect of diversity, he stated that it “has an intrinsic value in itself, and advances our understanding of fairness and social justice…. Innovation in science occurs when one can ask different questions, from different perspectives. has the courage to look at problems and gain new insights. Diversity results in innovative thinking and decision-making, and richness in the originality of scholarly ideas. Learning is poor when this happens in a group of like-minded people It happens”.
Citing his example, Justice Chandrachud said that over the years, he has had “brilliant law clerks of various backgrounds – from different genders, castes, classes, regions, and cultural experiences – and my interactions with them have made me new. perspective, whether through the suggestion of a new film or book or actively seeking new solutions to old problems.”
For example, he said, “My conversation with one of my clerks from the batch of 2020-21 gave me an insight into the various governance issues that people with disabilities face in their daily lives – in our own office, we have ensured Verified that the scanned case files received by us were OCR-readable; s…