Ram Jethmalani Died Sunday aged 95, leaving behind the fame, controversies, and a history of cases that set legal precedents.
He was born on 14 September 1923, Ram Jeth completed law degree in Karachi, before arriving to India in 1962. He appeared for the prosecution in the sensational Nanavati murder trial of 1962 a love triangle where a naval officer was tried for the murder of his wife’s alleged lover, earning himself a place on India’s legal map. As the chairman of the Bar Association of India, he rose to fame in 1975, opposing the Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Jethmalani contested and won the Bombay north-west Lok Sabha seat in 1977, backed by the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He again contested in the next election in 1980 as well, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was born out of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Jethmalani became a member of Rajya Sabha for the first time in 1988 and later went on to become Union law minister in 1996 under former Prime Minister Vajpayee. He was a law minister twice more, in 1998 and 1999 when Vajpayee become Prime Minister. Ram Jethmalani later took on Vajpayee in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow but lost the elections.
In the late 1960s, Ram Jethmalani also earned the name, smugglers’ lawyer, as he defended a string of smugglers at the time. When he faced criticism, Jethmalani used to calmly respond that he was just doing his duty as a lawyer.
He defended Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh in the Securities Scam case 1992.
Jethmalani also defended senior BJP leader LK Advani in the Hawala scam.
He argued in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and told the Supreme Court in July 2015 that the suicide bomb attack that killed the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was “not a crime against India”.
Jethmalani also defended self-styled godman Asaram Bapu in a sexual assault case.
He also represented Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.
This veteran lawyer also defended Union Home Minister Amit Shah in several fake encounter cases including the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
Jethmalani also won several awards including the International Jurist Award, World Peace Through Law Award and the Human Rights Award for his fight against authoritarianism in the Philippines.