Former Attorney General (AG) of India and senior advocate Ashok Desai passed away Monday morning. He was 87.
Desai, one of the leading lawyers in post-Independence India, was AG from July 1996 to May 1998. He served as Solicitor General of India from December 1989 to December 1990.
Desai was awarded Padma Bhushan and Law Luminary awards in 2001. Desai dealt with several landmark cases, including decriminalisation of homosexuality, Narmada Dam, the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act in Assam, Vineet Naraian case about investigation into corruption allegation against top public officials in the country among others.
Desai, who graduated from Fergusson College in Pune, completed his legal education from Government Law College in Mumbai. He started his practice in 1956 before the Bombay High Court and was designated as senior advocate in August 1977.
Desai, in 1972, came to the rescue of playwright Vijay Tendulkar when his play ‘Sakharam Binder’ faced a ban on grounds of obscenity. He also fought for striking down of censorship laws in Maharashtra.
Politicians and lawyers including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, BJP leader and lawyer Gaurav Bhatia and Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nandy among others paid tributes to Desai on social media platforms.
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