Ram Jethmalani: A Look At His Seven-decade Long Distinguished Career

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As Indian polity and law fraternity mourns the loss of eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Sunday, here's a look back at his impressive life including politics.

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
Ram Jethmalani

As Indian polity and law fraternity mourns the loss of eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Sunday, here's a look back at his impressive life. Jethmalani -a seven-decade law professional breathed his last at 7:45 AM on  September 8 at the age of 95 in New Delhi. Jethmalani was just six days short of his 96th birthday. His son Mahesh Jethmalani also informed that Ram Jethmalani's last rites will be performed in the evening at the Lodhi Road crematorium.

Ram Jethmalani: Detailed Profile

Born on 14 September 1923 in Shikharpur, which is in now in Pakistan's Sindh province. Born to Boolchand Gurmukhdas Jethmalani and Parbati Boolchand, Ram Jethmalani went on to be a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Senior Advocate (Supreme Court), an eminent professor of law Government Law College, Mumbai and  Wayne State University, Detroit. He is also the Professor Emeritus of Symbiosis Law School, Pune. He was also India's Union Law Minister and served as Chairman of Bar Council of India. He was also a member of the BJP till 2016 and later joined the RJD in 2016.

READ | Ram Jethmalani: Iconic Cases he fought and became a leading lawyer

Education and early career

Jethmalani obtained a law degree at the early age of 17 from Bombay University and started practising law in Karachi until India's partition. At the age of 18 - he married Durga in 1941. Moving to Bombay, he later married Ratna Shahani- a lawyer herself, in 1952. He later completed his LLM from Bombay University in 1944. He is survived by two sons and two daughters Rani, Shobha, Mahesh and Janak Jethmalani. His children Mahesh Jethmalani and Late Rani Jethmalani are also well-known lawyers.

READ | Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani passes away at 95

Law Career

Jethmalani had an illustrious seven-decade law career which started at the early age of 17. Starting his career in Karachi, he established his own firm with his friend A.K Brohi. Post-partition of India, he moved to Bombay as a refugee and began his illustrious career which included many high-profile cases. Known as a maverick lawyer, he shot to fame with the Nanavati V State of Maharashtra in 1959 becoming a leading name in the field of criminal law practice. He was also the lawyer who represented many eminent journalists, politicians who were jailed by the Indira government during the 1975-Emergency. In 1992, he challenged the government's order Mandal Report which provided reservations to socially and educationally backward classes for jobs in central services. Apart from these iconic cases, he defended many high-profile cases. Known as the 'maverick in his selection of causes', he also defended Harshad Mehta-Ketan Parekh in the stock market scam case, Afzal Guru, Underworld don Haji Mastan, Rajiv Gandhi's assassins, Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam, AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha in her disproportionate assets case, to name a few. On 9 September 2017, he announced his retirement from his legal profession.

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One of the early members of the Jan Sangh, he was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and subsequently in 1988. A four-time Rajya Sabha MP he was elected in 1994,1996,1999. HE served as Union Minister of Law in 1996 and as  Union Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment in 1998. In 1999, he was again sworn in as Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs. He also ran an unsuccessful bid to become the President of India. He later contested in General Elections of 2004 from Lucknow against Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an independent candidate.

In 2012, he wrote to BJP President Nitin Gadkari accusing BJP's silence against 'Corruption of the UPA-2 government. In May 2013, he was expelled from the party due to his anti-party statement. He then joined RJD in 2013. He was elected as the RJD MP from Bihar to the Rajya Sabha in 2014.

READ | RIP Ram Jethmalani: Farhan Akhtar, Mahesh Bhatt mourn demise

Books, Blogs, and awards

The eminent lawyer has written many books namely 'Justice Soviet-Style', 'Big Egos Small Men', 'Conscience of a Maverick', 'Maverick: Unchanged, Unrepentant' throughout his law career. He has also extensively written about various law subjects such as Private International Law, Media Law, and Conflict of Laws. Apart from writing, there have also been two biographies written after him, 'Ram Jethmalani: An Authorized Biography' by Nalin Gera; and 'The Rebel' by Susan Adelman. Throughout his long career as a lawyer and politician, he won awards such as International Jurist Award, World Peace Through Law Award and the Human Rights Award for his fight against authoritarianism in the Philippines to name a few. Being a vociferous advocate, he has also voiced his opinion on many subjects through his Blog- http://www.ramjethmalanimp.in/blog

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