Eminent lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani passed away earlier today, in his New Delhi residence at 7.45 am in the morning at the age of 95. He is celebrated as one of the most famous lawyers in the country and is known for defending the accused in the Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi assassination cases.
He passed away just a few days before his birthday on September 14th and wasn’t keeping well since a few months, as per his son, Mahesh Jethmalani’s statement to the PTI. His last rites will be performed today at the Lodhi Road crematorium, Mahesh added.
As the news of his demise reached them, several eminent personalities expressed grief and condolences at the huge loss. President Ram Nath Kovind while expressing his condolences on the demise remembered him as a “person of great erudition and intellect”.
On the other hand, Prime minister, Narendra Modi spoke highly of his qualities and quoted him as a fortitude at the time of emergency and a fighter for liberties of people. He also stated about how fortunate he is to have met Late Shree Ram Jethmalani numerous times and had an opportunity to interact with him.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed their condolences.
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’s Secretariat said in a tweet.
Attorney General KK Venugopal stated that the country had lost its “finest lawyer” who was bold and handled the most sensational criminal cases and constitutional matters, whereas Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also spoke highly of the celebrated jurist.
Apart from Mahesh, he is survived by his daughter based in the US. His other daughter Rani Jethmalani had passed away in 2011 and another son Janak had also predeceased him.
Jethmalani had served as Union Law Minister alongside being Minister for Urban Development during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, against whom he later contested the 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Lucknow seat. He also served as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association in 2010.”
Jethmalani had been elected as an MP in sixth and seventh Lok Sabha on the tickets of Janta Party and BJP from Mumbai in 1977 and 1980. He returned to the BJP in 2010 and was elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on the BJP ticket.
Born in Shikarpur in Sindh province (now in Pakistan) in 1923, Jethmalani earned his law degree at the age of 17.
As a lawyer, his claim to fame was in the year 1959 where he was a prosecutor in the KM Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra case in which a Naval Commander was tried for the murder of his wife’s lover. He had also defended the accused in the Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi assassination cases in different instances, while also defending Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh during the stock market scam cases.
He led the petitions in the black money case during the previous UPA regime in Supreme Court and had argued for bringing back illegal money locked away in overseas banks.
A battler in both law and politics, he was a steadfast person for the causes he took up and a bundle of affection. He was the one who did not really care about the consequences of societal norms, he had a deep heart and an edgy temperament. His body and mind remained great almost till the end.
He was many times regarded as a leader of the criminal bar of the country. To this he rightly responded, “I am also the no. 1 constitutional lawyer” because he was handling cases across the board.
Having represented Arvind Kejriwal in civil and criminal defamation cases filed by former finance minister Arun Jaitley against the Delhi CM in Delhi High Court, he further was also in the news when he defended the Reliance Natural Resources Ltd in the dispute over gas supplies between the Ambani brothers.