Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Friday lavished praise on outgoing judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, saying during his tenure of more than six years at the Supreme Court he left an indelible mark on the legal landscape of the nation.
Speaking at the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association for Justice Kaul, who is set to demit office on December 25, Justice Chandrachud said he brought to the Bench a unique blend of wisdom, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to justice.
“He (Justice Kaul) made every effort to help the litigant through the trials of the legal process. His genial temperament, patience, and positive disposition made him popular among the Bar. His care and kindness towards his law clerks and support staff made him a pleasure to work with,” Justice Chandrachud said in his address.
Referring to Justice Kaul’s stint as an apex court judge, Justice Chandrachud said he left an indelible mark on the legal landscape of our nation.
CJI Chandrachud remembered his college days with Justice Kaul at the Delhi University and said, “We first met in the hallowed halls of St Stephen’s College in 1976, where we burned the midnight oil in pursuit of a BA Honours in Economics. Over classes, countless conversations in the canteen and a shared love of theatre, we became close friends. Three years later, we once again found ourselves side by side at the Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, where we earned our LLB degrees.”
The CJI said during his career as a high court judge, Justice Kaul authored several notable judgments which reflected his prudence, sensitivity and steadfast loyalty to the values of the Constitution.
“In Maqbool Fida Husain v Raj Kumar Pandey, where M F Husain’s painting Bharat Mata was challenged as obscene, Justice Kaul passionately defended artistic freedom,” he said.
He said during his tenure as the chief justice of the high courts of Punjab and Haryana and Madras, Justice Kaul proved he was not only a fine judge but an able administrator.
“He filled vacancies, reduced pendency and inspired the smooth functioning of his charges. He undertook extensive restoration of heritage buildings at the Madras High Court, including the court halls and the great portrait gallery, and took steps to digitise old books and manuscripts at the judges library,” the CJI said, adding, Justice Kaul also started a drive to digitise landmark pleadings and judgments at the high court records section.
The CJI said Justice Kaul’s multifaceted contributions extend beyond the courtroom and as the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority, he faced the challenging issue of delayed release of individuals who had already been granted bail.
“Responding to this problem, he has been a key proponent and driver of the development of a technological system to ensure the immediate release of a person after bail is granted. This is a testament to his commitment to fairness and efficiency,” the CJI said.