21 June, 2021

More Than A Green Judge

Post-retirement, Kuldip Singh is still the crusader, full of ideas for judicial reform

More Than A Green Judge

RETIREMENT doesn't sit well on Justice Kuldip Singh. "I'm still a young man of 65. Supreme Court justices should retire at 72, if at all," he says. Controversial, colourful and innovative, Singh maintained a rigid silence outside court during his eight-year term, despite reported differences with Chief Justice A.M. Ahmadi. But now, he has plenty to say.

The tall, hefty, grizzled Justice—dubbed 'lion' because of his characteristic roar—feels his most important jurisprudential contribution was in giving teeth to public interest litigation (PIL). Not content with passing orders, he insisted on closely monitoring their implementation and put the executive in the dock if it did not comply. "That is judicial activism," he says.

He broke new legal ground in environmental law (earning the sobriquet 'green' judge) and gave a fresh dimension to human rights litigation while dealing with alleged police atrocities in Punjab (for which his detractors termed him 'Khalistani' judge). Post-retirement, his crusading zeal...

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