Ram Jethmalani, eminent lawyer and former union minister, passes away

Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani passes away

Eminent lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani, 95, passed away early at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday.

His son Mahesh said Jethmalani was not keeping well for a few months.

A noted criminal lawyer, Jethmalani had appeared for Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, convicted for the assassination of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict V Sriharan alias Murugan; Harshad Mehta in the stock market scam; underworld don Haji Mastan in smuggling cases; and had argued for senior BJP leader L K Advani in the Hawala case.

Jethmalani's first major case came in the 1959 when he was the prosecutor in the K M Nanavati vs State of Maharasthra case.

Born on September 14, 1923 in Sindh, Pakistan, Jethmalani completed his L.L.M. from the S.C. Shahani Law College, Karachi.

He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977. He took charge as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs in October 1999 until July 2000 in the Vajpayee government.

Jethmalani has also written various books including the "Conflict of Laws", "Justice: Soviet Style" and "Big Egos and Small Men".

Specialist in Criminal and Constitutional Law, he was also a part-time professor in Government Law College (Mumbai), Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and Wayne State University in the US.

Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani passes away

He was made Chairman of the Bar Council of India in 1970 and member of International Bar Association in 1966. In 2010, he was elected as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Jethmalani, who had announced his retirement in September 2017, is survived by his son Mahesh and a US-based daughter. His other daughter Rani Jethmalani passed away in 2011.

Mahesh said his father's last rites will be performed in the evening at the Lodhi road crematorium here.

Condolences pour in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the death of Jethmalani.

In a series of tweets, Modi said on Sunday: "In the passing away of Ram Jethmalani, India has lost an exceptional lawyer and iconic public figure who made rich contributions both in the court and Parliament. He was witty, courageous and never shied away from boldly expressing himself on any subject.

"I consider myself fortunate to have got numerous opportunities to interact with Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji. In these sad moments, my condolences to his family, friends and many admirers. He may not be here but his pioneering work will live on."

Shah also took to the micro-blogging site where he said that Jethmalani's death was an ""irreparable loss to the entire legal community".

"He will always be remembered for his vast knowledge on legal affairs. My condolences to the bereaved family," he added.

"Saddened by the passing of Shri Ram Jethmalani, former Union Minister and a veteran lawyer. He was known to express his views on public issues with his characteristic eloquence. The nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a person of great erudition and intellect," the President Ram Nath Kovind's Secretariat tweeted.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Jethmalani was "one of the brilliant minds of Bharat" and in his death the nation has lost "a distinguished jurist, a great intellectual and a patriot, who was active till his last breath".

(With inputs from PTI & IANS)