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Former union minister and veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani passes away at 95

Ram Jethmalani dead: Jethmalani served as law minister and as minister of Urban Development in the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet. He was also the chairman of the Bar Council of India.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 8, 2019 3:43:43 pm
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Veteran lawyer and former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani passed away Sunday morning at his residence in New Delhi at the age of 95.

He breathed his last at 7.45 am at his official residence in New Delhi, PTI quoted his son Mahesh Jethmalani as saying. Mahesh and other close acquaintances said he was not keeping well for a few months and he died six days before his 96th birthday on September 14. Mahesh also said his father’s last rites will be performed in the evening at the Lodhi road crematorium.

Also Read | Who was Ram Jethmalani?

Jethmalani served as law minister and as minister of Urban Development in former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet. He was also the chairman of the Bar Council of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several Political leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to express their sadness over Jethmalani’s demise.

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In a series of tweets, PM Modi said, “In the passing away of Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji, 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.”

“One of the best aspects of Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji was the ability to speak his mind. And, he did so without any fear. During the dark days of the Emergency, his fortitude and fight for public liberties will be remembered. Helping the needy was an integral part of his persona.”

Ram Jethmalani dead: Rare photos from Express archives

“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! Om Shanti,” Modi tweeted.

“Deeply pained to know about the passing away of India’s veteran lawyer and former Union Minister Shri Ram Jethmalani ji. In him, we have not only lost a distinguished lawyer but also a great human who was full of life,” the home minister said.

Prasad tweeted: “Deeply condole the passing away of the veteran lawyer and former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani. His brilliance, eloquence, powerful advocacy and sound understanding of law will remain a worthy example in legal profession. My profound condolences.”

“Extremely saddened at the passing away of legendary lawyer Ram Jethmalani ji. An institution in himself, he shaped criminal law in post-independence India. His void would never be filled and his name will be written in golden words in legal history. RIP Ram sir,” Kejriwal tweeted.

“My friend turned foe turned very good friend Ram Jethmalani passed away today at 95 years age. Farewell friend,” tweeted Swamy.

Born on September 14, 1923, in Shikarpur, Sindh in the Sindh division of the then Bombay Presidency, now part of Pakistan, Jethmalani completed his LL.B from Bombay University at the age of 17 and started practising law in his hometown until the partition of India. After partition, he moved to Bombay as a refugee and began his practice.

Jethmalani rose to become one of the most successful civil and criminal advocates in the country by taking up several politically sensitive cases. He had represented those accused of killing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Harshad Mehta in the stock market scam, L K Advani in the Hawala scandal, Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, Manu Sharma in the Jessica Lal murder case, among others.

The eminent lawyer got married to Durga when he was over 18 years of age. In 1947, just before partition, he also married Ratna Shahani, a lawyer by profession. He has four children —  Rani, Shobha, Mahesh from his first marriage and Janak from his second.

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