The International Judicial Conference 2020 ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’ was organised by the Supreme Court in Supreme Court’s auditorium on 22ndFebruary and 23rd February 2020.
It was the first International Judicial conference organised in India which was attended by the Supreme Court and High Court judges, judges from across 24 nations, former judges and advocates. The conference was held in the presence of Prime Minister Modi, Chief Justice Bobde, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and other judges of Supreme Court and judges of other countries. The notable factor of the conference was speeches of the judges of the Supreme Court and other courts. Chief Justice Bobde delivered inaugural address at the conference. Further Justice L Nageswara Rao delivers the Welcome Address. His lordship states aim of the conference is to facilitate cross fertilisation of ideas between judges of India and those from abroad. A.G. K. K. Venugopal address the conference on topic “Taking poverty to the court.”
The Justices of other countries also enlighten the conference, which includes judges from United Kingdom and Australia. United Kingdom Supreme Court President Justice Robert Reed spoke upon topic “The Judiciary And The Changing World.”
However the address of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud needs a mention. His lordship spoke upon the exciting recent legal developments across the world, in the universe of judging in recent time. Speaking upon lawyering his lordship said, “Lawyering gives to the individual a steady stream of new information on which new thoughts and ideas can evolve. Crowded Courthouse corridors are a vibrant space for dialogue and social contact” and speaking about judging, his lordship opined, “Collegiality is at the core of judging” and “Justice knows no borders.”
Moving further, his lordship cited exciting enactments across the globe that have reshaped the First, The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom held that the constitutional functions of Parliament, including its supervision of the government, could not be suspended without reasonable justification.The Constitutional Court of Malawi set aside a Presidential election for being plagued with irregularities, in order to preserve the integrity and legitimacy of the citizen’s vote. The Constitutional Court of South Africa championed the rights of children and declared the common law defence of moderate and reasonable chastisement constitutionally invalid. The Constitutional Court of Columbia struck down taxes on sanitary hygiene products and ordered the city of Bogota to create a public policy on menstrual hygiene for women living on the streets.
The High Court of Zimbabwe championed the cause of transgender persons under the protective umbrella of the rule of law by ordering the payment of compensation to a transgender person brutalised in police custody. The High Court of Kenya halted the implementation of the country’s national biometric identification system pending the implementation of a robust data protection legislation. The Supreme Court of Jamaica accorded primacy to privacy and choice and struck down its national identification and registration system. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh ushered in gender equality by altering marital registration forms. The Cour de Cassation of France gave impetus to a dignified life by upholding the withdrawal of life support to a quadriplegic person.
His lordship further cited landmark decisions of Supreme Court of India which gave new meaning to justice. While citing decision of Supreme Court whereby the office of Chief Justice came within the purview of the right to information Act, his lordship opined and I quote:
“The Indian Supreme Court ruled that even the office of its Chief Justice is subject to a citizen’s right to information. The doors of justice were thrown open, not just for those seeking justice, but also to those seeking to scrutinise the Court.”
His lordship remind other judges, essence of the cross fertilization of ideas where Hon’ble Supreme Court relied upon the decisions of courts of other countries while rendering LGBTQ rights judgments in India.
Further his lordship expressed privilege to share dais with Chief Justice Susan Kiefel who is a living embodiment of the quest for gender equality as the first woman Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. With this, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud cited the Australian High Court judgement in Kathleen Club v Edwards, upheld laws protecting the safety, dignity and privacy of patients accessing vitalabortion services.
While answering to those who say you cannot teach old judge new idea, his lordship quoted India’s foremost lawyers and jurists, FaliNariman has said, “Howsoever old you be, or howsoever old you get, may you always have the vigour and the enthusiasm of youth, to appreciate the enormity and magnificence of the law, and the will to unravel the mysteries and the mistakes in the law.”
Justice Deepak Gupta made concluding remark of the conference by touching upon four broad based topics which have been chosen for discussion i.e. gender justice, populism, data communication and privacy, climate change. 
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje