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Pro-LGBTQ Rights Judge Heads Top Court in Modi’s Divisive India

  • D.Y. Chandrachud takes charge as India’s Chief Justice
  • Appointment comes as court faces challenges to its credibility
D.Y Chandrachud
D.Y ChandrachudPhotographer: Prodip Guha/Getty Images

A judge who could pave the way to legalizing gay marriage in India took charge Wednesday as chief justice at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda dominates politics and throws up challenges for the court.

As a judge on the top court Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was a member of the five-member bench that decriminalized gay sex. He also ruled that same-sex couples and other non-traditional families are entitled to social benefits, another step in India’s slow but gradual easing of colonial-era, anti-LGBTQ laws.