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Big boost for free speech

india Updated: Jan 24, 2009 00:18 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
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“I have penned down this judgment with this fervent hope that it is a prologue to a broader thinking and greater tolerance for the creative field. A painter at 90 deserves to be in his home — painting his canvas.”

With these words Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul ended the exile of 90-year-old painter M.F. Husain last year. The verdict also gave a clear insight into the judge’s mind.

And as he has said, “Art, to every artist, is a vehicle for personal expression,” Justice Kaul’s judgments have always been a medium to convey his progressive thinking on issues confronting the society, be it art or Intellectual Property Rights.

Irrespective of the subject of legal dispute, Justice Kaul through his judgments has always tried to connect to “individual sensory” — legally, academically and of course emotionally.

As one his batchmates puts it: “Justice Kaul has a liberal approach, even in matters related to complex issues like contract. He interprets law in the contemporary sense and tries to assimilate the majority and the minority view.”

An economics graduate from St Stephens, Justice Kaul joined the legal profession in July 1982. His excellence in the field of law prompted the Delhi High Court to elevate him to the bench at the age of 43. He took oath on May 3, 2001.

While the M.F. Husain judgment and the verdict on the no-smoking on-screen notification have put Justice Kaul in the favorite list of artists, the judge is also a delight for corporate lawyers. His judgments on IPR and Contract Law are a subject of discussion in the Delhi High Court corridors.