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While he is not on social media, his law clerks and interns told him that the threats and profanity on social media against him was so “scary” that they requested the judge to stay away from social media.
“After the judgment, my interns, my law clerks told me: Listen, I hope you are not on social media. I said I’m not – except the WhatsApp messages I get from family and friends. And they said, ‘Please don’t. It’s scary. The amount of vile threats, abuse which you have received, it is scary’. They said we haven’t slept because we fear for the safety of the judges.”
Justice Chandrachud was speaking at a recent event in Mumbai when he disclosed the backlash for his judgment in the Sabarimala case.
Chandrachud J. also said that keeping women out of the temple was akin to untouchability and against their fundamental rights.
Justice Chandrachud was part of the Constitution Bench which had struck down a law framed by the Kerala government prohibiting women between the age of 10 to 50 from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
He, along with then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman and AM Khanwilkar, had delivered the majority judgment striking down the law and directing that temple be thrown open to all. Justice Indu Malhotra, who was the fifth judge on the Bench, wrote a dissenting judgment.
Interestingly, with regard to the dissenting judgment, Chandrachud J. threw his weight behind Justice Indu Malhotra.
“In the Sabrimala case, one of my colleagues, Justice Indu Malhotra dissented, which means there was a contrary viewpoint, and I do respect that. My law clerks said the same thing to me after the judgment. They asked me how a woman could dissent in a case about women’s rights. I told them that why should there be a perception that women should think in one particular way and men in another. We are professionals.”
The verdict in the review petition against the Supreme Court verdict is still pending.