Chief Justice of India Dr. DY Chandrachud said today that he has been very disturbed by the tendency of lawyers to comment on cases which are pending before the Court. He also said that the highest loyalty of lawyers must not lie with partisan interests, but to the Court and the Constitution.

"In a vibrant and argumentative democracy like ours, most individuals have a political ideology or inclination. To quote Aristotle, human beings are 'Political Animals'. Lawyers are no exception. However, for members of the Bar, one's highest loyalty must not lie with partisan interests but to the Court and the Constitution", the CJI said.

The CJI was speaking at the Centenary Year celebration of the High Court Bar Association, Nagpur. Justice BR Gavai and former Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also spoke at the event.

The CJI said during his speech that it is an independent Bar that is a moral bulwark to protect the rule of law and Constitutional governance. "Judgments of our Constitutional Courts are the culmination of rigorous proceedings, thorough legal analysis and a commitment to Constitutional principle. But once the judgment is pronounced, it is public property. As an institution, our shoulders are broad. We stand ready to receive both praise and criticism, bouquets and brickbats, be it through journalistic pieces, political commentary or on the social media", the Chief Justice said.

"But as members and office bearers of Bar Associations with years of training and experience, you must distinguish yourself from the lay person while reacting to judgments of the court and engaging in legal discussion", the Chief Justice added.

"Of late, I have been very disturbed by the tendency of members of Bar Associations to comment on cases which are pending before the Court and of commenting on judgments delivered by the Court. You are first and foremost officers of the Court and the dignity and truth in our legal discourse is in your hands", the CJI said.

The CJI said that as members of the Bar, it is incumbent upon lawyers to communicate the judgments of the Court to the public utilizing platforms such as opinion pieces and newspapers, media appearances and public lectures. "In this sense, the Bar has the potential to act as a bridge between the Court and the citizens. In fulfilling your role the bar can effectively translate complex legal concepts and precedents into accessible language for the public. Fostering a deeper understanding of our constitutional values and the true purport of our judgments", CJI Chandrachud said.

During his speech, the CJI said that the representation of women in the profession has drastically increased and referred to the designation of 11 women lawyers as senior advocates in the Supreme Court in one go. He, however, added that this trend is not reflected in the composition of elected Bar Associations or even Bar Councils. "When there are no formal barriers to contesting elections and the number of women lawyers is increasing, the question that arises is- why are more women not contesting and winning elections to Bar Associations or Bar Councils", he asked.

In that context, the CJI said, "Contesting elections for Bar Associations and for Bar Councils requires extensive networking, campaigning and soliciting of votes which often leads to the formation and perpetuation of an entrenched old boys club. This environment can act as a significant disincentive for women, discouraging them from participating in these elections, let alone engaging in campaigns and successfully winning them. It is not enough to remove formal barriers to women lawyers contesting elections, it is the responsibility of the existing male office bearers to not only encourage and support women lawyers who stand for election but also make the environment conducive for them to stand a fair chance".

The full speech can be viewed here.