Sanjay Kishan Kaul (born 26 December 1958) is a former judge and lawyer who served as a judge of the Supreme Court of India since 2017 until upon his retirement in 2023. He has served as the first puisne judge, senior-most after the Chief Justice of India. Also, he has been the ex officio executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority.

Hon'ble Mr. Justice (Retd.)
Sanjay Kishan Kaul
Judge of Supreme Court of India
In office
16 February 2017 – 25 December 2023
Nominated byJagdish Singh Khehar
Appointed byPranab Mukherjee
Chief Justice of Madras High Court
In office
26 July 2014 – 15 February 2017
Nominated byRajendra Mal Lodha
Appointed byPranab Mukherjee
Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court
In office
1 June 2013 – 25 July 2014
Nominated byAltamas Kabir
Appointed byPranab Mukherjee
Judge of Delhi High Court
In office
3 May 2001 – 31 May 2013
Acting CJ-23 September 2012-25 September 2012
Nominated byAdarsh Sein Anand
Appointed byKocheril Raman Narayanan
Personal details
Born (1958-12-26) 26 December 1958 (age 65)
Alma materFaculty of Law, University of Delhi

He is a former chief justice of Madras High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court and a former judge of Delhi High Court. He has also served as the acting chief justice of Delhi High Court.[1]

Personal life edit

Early life and education edit

A native of Srinagar, Sanjay Kishan Kaul was born on 26 December 1958 to a Kashmiri Pandit family. His great-great-grandfather, Suraj Kishan Kaul, was the Revenue minister in the Regency council of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. His great-grandfather, Sir Daya Kishan Kaul, was a statesman and diplomat who served as the finance minister of Jammu & Kashmir state. His grandfather, Raja Upinder Kishen Kaul, had a distinguished career in public service. Kaul's brother, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, was also a judge of the Delhi High court, having been appointed in the summer of 2009.[2]

After schooling in Modern School, New Delhi, Sanjay Kishan Kaul graduated in economics (Hons.) from Delhi University, studying in St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He then took a degree in law, studying at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, taking the LLB in 1982.[3][4]

Interests and associations edit

Kaul is a member of various prestigious institutions like Indian International center, India Law Institute, India Habitat Center, Roshanara club amongst others. Theatre, music, golf & reading, including subjects unrelated to law are amongst his other areas of interest.[3]

Career edit

As a lawyer edit

During his 19-year career, he handled mainly commercial, civil & writ matters in Delhi high court & Supreme court of India.[3]

As a judge edit

Kaul was appointed additional judge of Delhi high court on 3 May 2001, and was made a permanent judge in 2003. He was also the acting chief justice of Delhi high court in September 2012.[3] He became Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in June 2013.[5]

As a chancellor edit

The chancellor of TNDALU is the chief justice of Madras high court. Hence he served as the chancellor of TNDALU and he has also visited the college and addressed the students.[6]

Notable judgments edit

In the year 2017, on 24 August, Kaul along with eight judges ruled in favour of Privacy being a Fundamental Right, which is a watershed moment in the history of Constitutional Jurisprudence of India.

  • 2008 Judgement as Delhi HC Judge, where Kaul dismissed the charges levied against M F Husain for his painting of a lady later termed as 'Bharat Mata', accusing him of obscenity. Upholding free speech and expression, Kaul expressed agreement with Husain's contention that there was no deliberate intention on his part to hurt anybody's religious feeling as the figure actually represented an "anthropomorphic depiction of a nation" in the form of a distressed woman.[7] Kaul in his conclusion mentions,

    Pluralism is the soul of democracy. There should be freedom for the thought we hate. Freedom of speech has no meaning if there is no freedom after speech. The reality of democracy is to be measured by the extent of freedom and accommodation it extends.[8]

References edit

  1. ^ "Sanjay Kishan Kaul sworn-in as Chief Justice of Madras HC". The Hindu. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  2. ^ "CJ has Illustrious lineage to his credit". 31 July 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Justice Sanjay Kishen Kaul to be new chief Justice of Madras high court". 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Sanjay Kishen Kaul is Punjab & Haryana HC Chief Justice". Chandigarh: 31 May 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Hon'ble Judges". Punjab and Haryana High Court. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Process of selecting V-C for law school under way, says Chief Justice". The Hindu. 1 October 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  7. ^ "M F Husain A casualty of his one painting". New Delhi: Times of India, Manoj Mitta. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Chaste art is not art says Judge". 9 June 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2014.