New Delhi: Ram Jethmalani, eminent Supreme Court lawyer and former union law minister, passed away at his residence on Sunday, just six days short of his 96th birthday.
Ram Jethmalani breathed his last at 7:45 am at his official residence, his son Mahesh Jethmalani told news agency PTI, adding that his father had not been keeping well for a few months. Mahesh Jethmalani said his father's last rites will be performed on Sunday evening at the Lodhi road crematorium.
Jethmalani, who announced his retirement in September 2017, fought several high-profile cases, representing many controversial clients from stockbroker Harshad Mehta to former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao, among others.
From appearing in the famous KM Nanavati versus State of Maharashtra case in 1959 to the multi-crore 2G scam in 2011, from being LK Advani's defence in the Hawala scam to fighting for Arvind Kejriwal in a defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley, Jethmalani has been part of many high-profile cases in the court of law.
Ram Jethmalani was also a member of the current Rajya Sabha. He is survived by his son Mahesh Jethmalani, who is also a noted lawyer, and a daughter. His other daughter, Rani Jethmalani, had passed away in 2011.
Home minister Amit Shah paid his last respects to the veteran lawyer at the latter's residence, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has lost an “exceptional lawyer and iconic public figure”.
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 8, 2019
Speaking to News18, senior lawyer Indira Jaising said, “He was an incredible lawyer and today is not a day to talk about politics. It is a huge loss to the legal fraternity. I do not know if there will be another Ram Jethmalani.”
Congress leader and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi remembered Jethmalani as a “courageous man”. “I have known him for a long time. He was a very courageous man. He was a valued colleague in the Rajya Sabha and was never afraid to call spade a spade. We have lost an institution,” he told News18.
Condolences also poured in on Twitter from several members of the legal and political fraternity.
Saddened by the passing of Shri Ram Jethmalani, former Union Minister and a veteran lawyer. He was known to express his views on public issues with his characteristic eloquence. The nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a person of great erudition and intellect #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 8, 2019
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.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) September 8, 2019
Deeply saddened by the demise of former Union Minister and eminent lawyer, Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji. Blessed with knowledge and intelligence he made noteworthy contribution to lawmaking and pubic life. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 8, 2019
On a personal note, I have lost a dear friend with whom I had a very long association both as Minister and as a member of Parliament. My condolences to the bereaved family members. May his soul rest in peace. #RamJethmalani— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) September 8, 2019
Ram Jethmalani ji’s passing away is a irreparable loss to the entire legal community. He will always be remebered for his vast knowledge on legal affairs. My condolences to the bereaved family. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 8, 2019
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— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 8, 2019
My friend turned foe turned very good friend Ram Jethmalani passed away today at 95 years age. Farewell friend— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 8, 2019
Today, we have lost an iconic lawyer as well as a gentleman par excellence who left a deep mark in the history of our nation. He passed after a rich life of excellence and ethics. May he now get eternal rest in the shelter of the Almighty. pic.twitter.com/wDy2SJEpbi— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) September 8, 2019
Deep grief at the passing away of Ram Jethmalani. He was a dear friend, fellow Parliamentarian and a legal legend. Deepest condolences to his family and the large number of friends and admirers.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) September 8, 2019