Sanjay Kishan Kaul

 “Criticism of a viewpoint or a judgment is not a problem, but when imputations and grading start being made, I think we damage the very institution,{ Justice Kaul during an online lecture on ‘Freedom of speech in times of Covid-19 — fake news and misinformation’, organised by the Madras Bar Association.}


Sanjay Kishan Kaul, being a Judge of Supreme Court of India is a former Chief Justice of Madras High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court and former Judge of Delhi High Court. He has also served as Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. 

Notable Judgements

Since the elevation of Rangan Gogoi as CJI , Justice Kaul is sitting with him in certain high profile cases - Common Cause v UOI which deals with removal of CBI Director by the Centre; Rafael case and Anoop Baranwal v UOI case where a PIL has challenged the process of appointment of Election Commissioners by the Executive.

Justice Kaul, along with Justice Nariman discussed and deliberated on the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 for the first time, thereby insulating insolvency proceedings from the test of repugnancy. On the 24th of August 2017, Justice Kaul along with 8 other brother judges ruled in favour of Privacy being a Fundamental Right, which is indeed a watershed moment in the history of Constitutional Jurisprudence of India.

In a 2008 Judgement as Delhi HC Judge, Justice Kaul dismissed the charges levied against M F Hussain for his painting of a lady later termed as ‘Bharat Mata’, accusing him of obscenity. Upholding free speech and expression, Justice 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. Justice 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.” Justice Kaul wrote one of the five concurring opinions in the Puttaswamy v UOI case (Right to privacy) which recognised privacy as a fundamental right.


Justice Kaul studied in Modern School, New Delhi till 1976.He graduated in Economics (Hons.) from St. Stephens College, Delhi University in 1979 and obtained his LL.B. Degree from The Campus Law Centre, Delhi University in 1982. In the same year, he enrolled as an Advocate with Bar Council of Delhi on July 15, 1982. Justice Kaul practiced mainly in the Commercial, Civil, Writ, Original and Company jurisdictions of the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court of India. Justice Kaul remained Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India from 1987 to 1999 and was appointed as a Senior Advocate in December, 1999. He was designated Senior Counsel for the Delhi High Court and for the Delhi University, was on the Senior panel of Union of India and served as the Additional Senior Standing Counsel for the DDA. He was soon elevated as Additional Judge of the High Court of Delhi on May 03, 2001 and was appointed as a permanent Judge on May 02, 2003.He was elevated as the Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court w.e.f. 23.09.2012 to 25.09.2012. Justice Kaul was subsequently elevated as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court w.e.f. 01.06.2013, and then assumed charge as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on 26.07.2014. Justice Kaul was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 17.02.2017.