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Senior Supreme Court Advocate Fali S Nariman Passes Away at 95

Renowned constitutional jurist and senior Supreme Court advocate Fali S Nariman passed away at the age of 95 in New Delhi.

Early Years and Legal Journey

Fali S Nariman, a name synonymous with legal excellence and constitutional jurisprudence in India, embarked on his illustrious legal career in November 1950 as an advocate of the Bombay High Court. His journey to becoming a senior advocate in 1961 marked the beginning of a legal practice that would span over seven decades. Nariman’s initial years at the High Court of Bombay laid the foundation for a career that would see him move to New Delhi in 1972, where he would leave an indelible mark on the Supreme Court of India’s history.

Contributions to Indian Law

As an Additional Solicitor General of India from May 1972, Nariman’s role in shaping India’s legal landscape became even more pronounced. His presidency of the Bar Association of India from 1991 to 2010 underscored his leadership and influence within the legal community. Nariman’s legal acumen was recognized nationally through the Padma Bhushan in January 1991, followed by the Padma Vibhushan in 2007, reflecting his unparalleled contributions to Indian jurisprudence.

Landmark Cases and Legal Philosophy

Nariman argued in several significant cases, including the NJAC verdict and the SC AoR Association case, instrumental in establishing the collegium system. His involvement in the TMA Pai case further highlighted his commitment to addressing complex issues related to minority rights under Article 30 of the Indian Constitution. Perhaps one of his most notable stances was his resignation as the Additional Solicitor General in June 1975, in protest against the declaration of emergency by the Indira Gandhi government, showcasing his unwavering commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

Global Influence and Advocacy

Beyond the borders of India, Nariman’s expertise was recognized through his roles as President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration and Vice-Chairman of the Internal Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, among others. His tenure as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva from 1995 to 1997 highlighted his global impact on legal advocacy and human rights.

A Voice for Constitutional Integrity

In recent years, Nariman emerged as a critical voice against the judgement leading to the abrogation of Article 370, emphasizing his role as a guardian of constitutional values. His book, ‘You Must Know Your Constitution’, reflects his deep understanding of the Constitution’s living nature, informed by decades of experience and a profound belief in the principles of democracy and justice.

Legacy and Passing

The passing of Fali S Nariman at the age of 95 marks the end of an era in Indian jurisprudence. His legacy, however, will continue to inspire generations of lawyers and legal scholars. Through his contributions to the legal profession and his unwavering commitment to upholding the Constitution, Nariman has left an indelible mark on India’s legal and constitutional history.

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