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Ram Jethmalani Greatest Lawyer Of All Time; UCC Is A Question Of Equality: SG Tushar Mehta

The Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture Series was initiated as a tribute to the intellectual prowess of the senior Supreme Court advocate who passed away in 2019.

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Appearing in the third edition of the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture Series on Republic TV, Solicitor General (SG) of India Tushar Mehta put forward his views on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). He also spoke about his association with late senior Supreme Court advocate and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani and dubbed him the "greatest lawyer of all time".

"It's indeed a privilege to be a perennial member and a participant in Shri Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture series. I always come on this series, not in my capacity as Solicitor General but always a fan of Ram Jethmalani Memorial. 'Ram' we used to lovingly call him. My association with Ram has been long and very intense. I mostly appeared with him and in very few cases, I appeared against him. But either way, I ended up learning something new daily," said SG Mehta.

"Most people do a disservice to a giant of a man by remembering him as the greatest criminal lawyer of the time. I don't agree with that. Ram Jethmalani was the greatest lawyer of his time be it criminal lawyer, constitutional law, corporate law, or any subject which he handled. To confine his legal acumen to merely criminal law would be doing injustice to this giant," SG Tushar Mehta added.

On senior Advocate in the Supreme Court and Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Jethmalani, Mehta said, "I'm indeed grateful to his worthy son Mahesh Jethmalani, who by his own right is an eminent lawyer, an eminent counsel, and a person of eminence in parliament also. He is also a personal and dear friend who treats me as a family."

'Don't link UCC directly or indirectly to Triple Talaq'

Speaking on the discussion of the 3rd edition of the series, SG Tushar Mehta said that the Uniform Civil Code is not a political slogan of a particular political party. "People must know that this is the manifestation of the desire, of the framers of the constitution and it was the constituent assembly which put this particular provision as a desire in Article 44 of the Constitution."

"I don't consider the question of Uniform Civil Code as a question of either any religious issue or any other angle. First of all, we can do injustice to the subject by linking it directly or indirectly to the triple talaq issue. This is the mistake that people from both the spectrum of the subject commit. Those who are in favour try to seek support from the Triple Talaq issue, and those who are against try to find some lacunas from the issue. Therefore, the outset says don't connect it with the Triple Talaq issue," the Solicitor General said.

He opined that there is less equality for women in issues related to inheritance and the right to property, among others in comparison with men. 

"It's a question of equality in general and equality of women in particular. India has always treated men and women equally. That is how India is known within the country as well as outside. Except in cases of political representation or employment etc, there is less equality so far as women are concerned but on issues like inheritance, right to property, and right to share in the property, India could not treat women equally with men. As a matter of fact, even among the Hindus, daughters got coparcenary recently. For us, this is a question of equality. First, women across the religion, are governed by the same law. Second, equality in general (family issues and human relations). Can we not experiment with making everyone equal in every aspect of the law?" Mehta asked.

The Solicitor General of India opined that the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the political will and courage to take reformative steps if they are in the larger national interest. "These are my personal views," he added.

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