End of an era: Legal luminary Fali Nariman passes away at 95

end of an era legal luminary fali nariman passes away at 95 – The News Mill

ANI Photo | End of an era: Legal luminary Fali Nariman passes away at 95

Fali Sam Nariman, one of India’s most distinguished legal luminaries, breathed his last on Wednesday leaving behind a legacy that will forever resonate in the annals of Indian jurisprudence. He was 95 years old.
The passing of Fali S Nariman led to an outpouring of heartfelt tributes from countless people from the legal community and political leaders.
President Droupadi Murmu expressed her condolence on social media platform X. “Among the wisest experts on our Constitution, he was also a globally respected jurist. He served the nation in various roles, including as a member of the Rajya Sabha, with equal dedication,” President Murmu said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on X, “Shri Fali Nariman Ji was among the most outstanding legal minds and intellectuals. He devoted his life to making justice accessible to common citizens. I am pained by his passing away. My thoughts are with his family and admirers. May his soul rest in peace”.
On Wednesday, before the beginning of the court proceedings, Chief Justice of India DY Chandradhud said, “We mourn the sad demise and passing away of Fali Nariman. He was a great giant of an intellectual. It’s very sad”.
Attorney General R Venkataramani, who was present in the courtroom, agreed with the CJI saying, “It is indeed difficult news to swallow”.
Justice NV Ramana, former Chief Justice of India also issued a statement expressing condolence, “Shri Nariman witnessed our nation’s many a trials and tribulations, both before and after independence and fought for upholding Constitutional values till his last breath”.
Nariman was born on January 10, 1929, in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar), to Parsi parents Sam Bariyamji Nariman and Banoo Nariman. He enrolled as an advocate of the Bombay High Court in November 1950.
Nariman’s illustrious career spanned over six decades, during which he made significant contributions to the evolution of Indian constitutional law.
In the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case, Nariman assisted Nani Palkhivala who represented the petitioner. The 1973 historic judgment by the Supreme Court propounded the Basic Structure doctrine.
Nariman was appointed Additional Solicitor General of India in May 1972 but resigned from the post a day after the imposition of the Emergency in 1975 in protest against the Indira Gandhi government decision.
More recently, Nariman was part of the legal team that fought against the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, which sought to replace the Collegium System. The Supreme Court struck down the NJAC Act, upholding the Collegium System for the appointment of judges in India’s higher judiciary.
Beyond his courtroom prowess, Nariman was a prolific writer, with several authoritative works on constitutional law to his name. He authored ‘India’s Legal System: Can it be Saved?’ which was published in 2006.
In 2010, he published his autobiography ‘Before Memory Fades… An Autobiography’. In the book he wrote, “I have lived and flourished in a secular India. In the fullness of time if God wills, I would also like to die in a secular India.”
He later published ‘The State of the Nation’ and ‘God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court’.
From defending civil liberties to championing the cause of judicial independence, Nariman fearlessly fought for justice and constitutional values throughout his career.
Recently in December last year, Nariman reacted sharply to the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the abrogation of Article 370 which had conferred special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Politically, it is a good thing that a temporary provision in India’s Constitution (Article 370) has ceased to be operative…It has facilitated a complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union of India. If that was all that had happened, the unanimous judgment would have been and should have been welcomed. But this is not all that happened,” he said.
“What was actually done by the Centre was, in my view, not according to the provisions of the Constitution, nor in accordance with well-settled principles of federalism, a basic feature of the Constitution as was held in a 1994 judgment of a Constitution Bench of nine judges,” Nariman said.
Nariman was awarded by the President of India in January 1991 the Padma Bhushan “in recognition of distinguished service in the field of jurisprudence.” Later in 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in recognition of “exceptional and distinguished services in the field of Public Affairs.”
Nariman is survived by his son and former Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and daughter Anaheeta F Nariman. His wife Bapsi F Nariman passed away in 2020

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