away of Ram Jethmalani is sad though he enjoyed his life till end. Not many get
such an adventurous and complete life as he got. His politics might not be in resonance
with the ideas that he fought in the court but one thing was clear, whether he
was part of the Bhartiya Janata Party or not, Ram Jethmalani was a man on his
own and an absolute constitutionalist.
every successful person be it lawyer, film maker, authors, social activists,
academics, bearucrates, all have one disease in common which is ‘desire’ to be
in ‘Parliament’ as if without that they can’t survive and they convert
themselves into extraordinarily ordinary as none of them could raise issues or
change the course of our political destiny. Perhaps, we need more power houses
outside parliament, with people who could be a pressure force for the unruly
rulers who are turning democratic dictators with the help of media.
Jethmalani was politically part of the Hindutva group but his associations with
politicians across the party line and the reason for that was that he picked up
the most difficult cases, which others might have refused. He fought the case
of Kehar Singh and Balbir Singh accused of conspiring to assassinate Indira
Gandhi. Balbir Singh was ultimately acquitted by the apex court.
Gandhi got massive mandate in 1985 and the clouds of Bofors eclipsed his
government, Jethmalani started questioning Rajiv Gandhi on a daily basis which
was responded by the Congress goon in a very unprofessional way giving benefit
to all those forces who campaigned against Bofors.
National Front was coming to power in 1989, the question of leadership of the
alliance was clear and V P Singh was the choice of most of the parties yet
Chandra Shekhar put his foot down and decided that VP will never has his vote
and that he can’t be allowed to become leader of the alliance unopposed.
Jethmalani was upset with Chandrashekhar and was actually manhandled by the
supporters of Chandra Shekhar.
Minister of Law in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry and could never digest the
growing clout of Arun Jaitley who he never considered an able lawyer. Fact of
the matter, Jaitley was not really a great legal mind though he was suave and a
great networker. The other person that Jethmalani despised by Subramanyam Swamy
who he often remarked, the man who don’t know ABC of law.
was a power house. He never compromised on his legal principals and fought all
those cases which brings abuses by the trolls these days. He was a strong
votary of article 370 and maintained that it cannot be abrogated. Watch an
episode where Subramanian swamy was encouraging the abrogation and Jethmalani
was quoting the constitution of J & K that unless the constituent assembly
of the J & K ask for, nobody has the power to abrogate article 370.
fought many cases including that of Lalu Prasad Yadav. He fought for social
justice issues as well as those of Asa Ram Bapu but he was categorical that he
was fulfilling his legal duties when taking up such cases and can’t prejudge a
person based on police accusations. Technically, he was right.
lived a complete life yet his absence will be noted in the legal circles as he
was the person who spoke without fear and intimidation. At the time when our
legal fraternity has become more polarised, it is people like Jethmalani who
were needed more, who had the capacity of speaking as a dissenting voice to
those in power. We have very few left now who could stand up and defend those
who have been ‘declared’ as ‘indefensible’ by our media and political class. We
can’t do it in the greater interest of jurisprudence and legal system. We can’t
allow people to decide fate of people in the street and at the TV studios.
Jethmalani was true to his profession, a thorough professional who defended his
clients to the best of his ability and not judged them on the colour of their
skins, religion or political ideologies. Sadly, that tribe, totally dedicated
to constitutional values and professionalism is now diminishing. In
Jethmalani’s death we have lost one such great minds who was fearless and
dedicated to his professional duties. His absence will be greatly missed in the
September 9, 2019