regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Rich tributes pour in from legal fraternity on eminent jurist and veteran advocate Fali Sam Nariman's death

Nariman died in Delhi today at the age of 95. He was suffering from multiple ailments, including cardiac issues

PTI New Delhi Published 21.02.24, 12:55 PM
Fali Sam Nariman

Fali Sam Nariman File picture

Rich tributes poured in from across the legal fraternity condoling the death of eminent jurist and veteran advocate Fali Sam Nariman with Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud terming him as a "great giant of an intellectual" and former CJI N V Ramana calling him a "conscience keeper for judicial institutions".

Nariman died here on Wednesday at the age of 95. He was suffering from multiple ailments, including cardiac issues.


As soon as a bench led by the CJI assembled for the day's proceedings on Wednesday, Justice Chandrachud mourned the death of the legal doyen.

"Mr Attorney General, we mourn the sad demise and passing away of Fali Nariman. He was a great giant of an intellectual," Justice Chandrachud told Attorney General R Venkataramani.

Several senior lawyers including veteran advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi, Indira Jaising, Prashant Bhushan and Menaka Guruswamy paid tributes to Nariman.

In a message of condolence, former CJI N V Ramana said Nariman will be remembered as an "ethical giant" and huge volume of his work will keep on guiding the generations to come.

"Never known for mincing words, Shri Fali S Nariman has been a conscience keeper for judicial institutions. Through his arguments in court rooms, widely read news paper columns, public lectures, parliamentary interventions and televised interviews he has educated generations of legal professionals and general public alike," Justice (retd) Ramana said.

He said the news of sudden passing of Nariman has filled him with deep sorrow.

"Shri Nariman witnessed our nation's many a trials and tribulations, both before and after Independence and fought for upholding constitutional values till his last breath. Series of his spirited interviews at such an advanced age in the very recent past stand testimony to his commitment for the constitutional principles," Justice (retd) Ramana said.

Paying tribute to Nariman, Sibal said a great son of India has passed away.

"A great son of India passes away. Not just one of the greatest lawyers of our country but one of the finest human beings who stood like a colossus above all. The corridors of the court will never be the same without him. May his soul rest in peace," he wrote on X.

Singhvi termed Nariman's death as an "end of an era".

"End of an era—#falinariman passes away, a living legend who wl forever be in hearts & minds of those in law & public life. Above all his diverse achievements, he stuck to his principles unwaveringly & called a spade a spade, a quality shared by his brilliant son #Rohinton," he wrote on X.

Nariman's son, Rohinton Fali Nariman, retired as a judge of the Supreme Court in August 2021.

Bhushan said Nariman was regarded as the 'Bhishma Pitamaha' of our legal community.

"The passing away of Mr Nariman is the end of an era of our legal history. He was regarded as the 'Bhishma Pitamaha' of our legal community. He had seen the whole unfolding of our Constitution and the judiciary from very close quarters and he had always been engaged with almost all the important battles in the court that have taken place," he said.

Bhushan said Nariman was a "great votary" for the Constitution, for secularism and for civil liberties and he was greatly concerned about the "erosion of civil liberties and secularism in this country in the last few years and he had also been writing about it".

Jaising wrote on X that Nariman was a voice that stood by secular values and for the independence of judiciary.

"Fali S Nariman senior advocate has passed on from this world . He was the last of a generation of lawyers from Bombay who shaped and moulded the history of constitutional law in India, a voice that stood by secular values, for the Independence of the judiciary. My deepest condolences for his family," she said.

Condoling Nariman's death, Guruswamy said he was fearless and a conscience keeper of the bar.

"Mr Fali Nariman veteran senior advocate, master practitioner of the craft of litigation, conscience-keeper of the bar, fearless and witty has passed away. The Constitution has lost of one of her greatest defenders. We at the bar have lost our leader," she wrote on X.

Born on January 10, 1929, Nariman was enrolled as an advocate at the Bombay High Court in November 1950 and was designated a senior advocate in 1961.

He practised law for more than 70 years, initially in the Bombay High Court and since 1972, in the Supreme Court.

Nariman was appointed as the additional solicitor general of India in May 1972. He resigned from the post a day after the imposition of Emergency on June 26, 1975.

In his long and illustrious legal career, Nariman argued in several landmark cases, including the Bhopal gas tragedy case, TMA Pai case, Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case and the famous case of the National Judicial Appointments Commission, which was struck down by the Supreme Court.

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