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Politicians, legal luminaries pay tributes to Ram Jethmalani

Indian Express 2019-09-09 01:31:15

Ram Jethmalani passed away at his Akbar Road home on Sunday morning at the age of 95. He was cremated at Lodhi crematorium.

Polticians from across the spectrum and members of the legal fraternity paid tributes to veteran jurist and former law minister on Sunday.

He passed away at his Akbar Road home on Sunday morning at the age of 95. He was cremated at Lodhi crematorium.

Among those in attendance were Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Delhi Chief Minister , Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, the standing counsel for Delhi Government, Rahul Mehra and AAP leader Raghav Chadha. Former law minister in the Congress government Ashwani Kumar, Bihar politician Sharad Yadav and several prominent jurists, including former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, also attended the funeral.

Kejriwal was represented by Jethmalani in a defamation case filed by the former Union minister late .

Prasad, offered condolences to the family and said, “I have always said this, Ram Jethmalani is the best criminal lawyer in the country”.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister and Defence Minister went to Jethmalani’s residence to pay their last respects.

Jethmalani was a sitting member of Rajya Sabha from the RJD.

Kejriwal, who met Jethmalani’s son Mahesh outside the crematorium, said: “Ram Jethmalani’s demise is very sad for the entire country. We all know he was the most experienced and able lawyer in the country. He was an institution in himself in the area of criminal jurisprudence. He was also a Cabinet minister. Due to his departure a vacuum has been created which can not be filled. I used to meet him quite often, he even fought some cases for me. I know that he would fight cases of several poor people without taking a fee.”

Senior advocate, Vikas Pahwa told that he met Jethmalani in 1994 in the Supreme Court. “I was fortunate that he was sitting next to me. He wrote a small paper for me which became my source of inspiration. He wrote that there is no substitute to hard toil and absolute integrity, you reach the top if you have these two.”

Pahwa added, “I still have that note with me and showed it to him 18 years after, when I became a senior counsel. That is the kind of impact he had on my life. I learned criminal law from him. When I showed that piece of paper to him there were around 15 -20 people in that conference room and he told all his juniors that I was his real shishya (student)”.

Senior counsel Geeta Luthra recalled the time her father and Jethmalani had become senior counsels.

“One of the first big cases I handled was with my father, KK Luthra. Ram was also working on that case and he and my father represented two of the accused. It was a great pleasure being the smallest fry in that galaxy of seniors. In my opinion he was a legal underdog. The public opinion was against him and the media was against him and yet he had the courage to fight fearlessly. He was also very kind to students,” she said.

Congress president and former Prime Minister also extended condolences to Jethmalani’s family.