SC Judge Calls Out 'After Me The Deluge' Syndrome of Retd Judges After ‘F’ Grade on Migrant Crisis

Utkarsh Anand

Supreme Court judge Sanjay K Kaul on Sunday called out ‘after me the deluge’ attitude of some of the retired judges, and said the institution is damaged when they start ‘grading’ of the top court.

Justice Kaul’s comments made at an online lecture series may be construed as a response to former Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur, who in an article earlier this week, said the apex court deserved a grade ‘F’ for its handling of migrant crisis.

Justice Kaul, who is also a part of the bench that has now taken suo motu cognizance of the migrants’ matter, was categorical in his speech that although criticism of a view point is always acceptable, “when imputations and gradings start being made, I think we damage the institution.”

The judge added that some of the former judges as well as retired lawyers suffer from the syndrome ‘After me the deluge’ – English translation of the French expression après moi le deluge. The proverb is used to suggest a situation that everything will go wrong if one is not in power and control.

Justice Kaul, referring to this adage, said: “The unfortunate part is that in some of us who have been a part of this institution, either from the Bar or from the Bench, there is a problem of ‘After me the deluge’ – which is that since we are gone, everything is going wrong.”

Days after Justice Lokur’s article created a ripple in the legal fraternity, Justice Kaul said that the growing problem of intolerance is also at times reflected in terms of the judiciary. “I say it with some hesitation but judiciary performs a certain role and does not have the opportunity to respond to criticism,” he maintained.

Justice Kaul was delivering the lecture on ‘Freedom of speech in times of COVID-19’, organized by the Madras High Court Bar Association.

On Wednesday evening, retired Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur had an article published on a web portal, titled as “Supreme Court Deserves an 'F' Grade For Its Handling of Migrants”, in which the apex court was criticized for the manner in which it had dealt with the issue when it took up different petitions.

He contended that the Supreme Court forgot what public interest litigation is all about and that if a grading is to be given, it deserves an ‘F’.

Recently, former CJI Ranjan Gogoi had also hit out at what he coined “activist judges” who start raising questions on judiciary immediately after their retirement but keep quiet while in office.

Under attack for accepting the Rajya Sabha membership, Justice Gogoi had said: “Who are these activist judges working with? Who is giving platforms to them for saying all this? There are no questions asked.”