Eminent lawyer and former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani passed away early on Sunday morning at his home in Delhi. He was 95.
He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
Jethmalani served as the chairman of the Bar Association of India during the period of emergency, between 1975–1977.
He became the Union Minister of law in 1996, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. During Vajpayee's second tenure, he was the Union Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment.
He had announced his retirement from the legal profession at the age of 94. During the felicitation ceremony of newly appointed Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Jethmalani said, "My regret is that when Justice Misra became the Chief Justice of India, I decided to retire from the profession."
This was, however, not the first time Jethmalani was announcing his retirement. Around 12 years before this announcement, he had hung a sign on the front door of his residence. "I am not accepting any new court matters but welcome for anything else," the sign read.
He later returned to the Supreme Court to defend Manu Sharma (convicted for the murder of Jessica Lall).
He was involved in defending several high-profile cases. His first notable case was in 1959, when he was the prosecutor in the KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra case. He has also defended Rajiv Gandhi's killer in Madras High Court in 2011 and Afzal Guru's death sentence.
Condolences poured in from all directions on Twitter and many paid tribute to Jethmalani on Sunday.
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. pic.twitter.com/8fItp9RyTk— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 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.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 8, 2019
RIP Ram sir
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