Tribute to Ram Jethmalani: His most famous cases
New Delhi : Ram Jethmalani, who took his last breath on Sunday morning at his residence in Delhi, is remembered for his ability to pull off high profile cases with his sharp words in the courtroom.
He obtained his law degree from Sind University (now in Pakistan) when he was just 17 year old.
Ram Jethmalani came to lime light with famous Nanavati case in 1959 with YV Chandrachud who later became India’s chief justice. Chandrachud and Jethmalani appeared for the prosecution in the case where a Navy Commander Kawas Nanavati had shot his wife’s lover, Prem Ahuja in cold blood.
Within a time span of one year, or rather end of 1960s, he had become the lawyer of many smugglers in the late 1960s but he pointed out that he was only doing his duty as a lawyer.
In the mid-1970s, Jethmalani left India to evade arrest during the Emergency years because he believed he could be of greater use outside the country. In 1977 he returned and fought the general elections where he defeated law minister HR Gokhale.
Along with advocate Kamini Jaiswal, Jethmalini successfully defended former Delhi University lecturer Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, who was a suspect in the 2001 Parliament attacks by the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Jaiswal said she was ‘very disturbed’ by Jethmalini’s decision to defend Manu Sharma.
“He has publicly said he has retired and will appear only in matters where the larger national interest is involved. This is not a larger issue,” she had said.
But an unfazed Jethmalani’s conscience was clear. “If taking up an unpopular cause will result unpopularity, so be it.”
He went on to tell CNN-IBN in an interview, “I decide according to my conscience who to defend. A lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional misconduct.”
Ram Jethmalani had also represented Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the civil and criminal defamation suits filed by the late Arun Jaitley in 2015 where the former Union minister had sought Rs 10 crores in damages. Unfortunately, the result was not in their favour and Kejriwal had to apologise to Arun Jaitley.