Senior advocate and eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman dies at age 95

NewsSenior advocate and eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman dies at age 95


Known as the “Bhishma Pitaamah” (father figure) of the Indian judiciary, Nariman was a Padma Vibhushan recipient and led the way in historic rulings.

Fali S. Nariman, a renowned jurist and senior advocate, passed away early on Wednesday. Nariman, who was 95 years old, had several medical conditions, including heart problems. With his brilliant advocacy and remarkable oratory abilities, Nariman participated in a number of bench cases involving the Constitution that significantly aided the Supreme Court in redefining the legal landscape and how the Constitution’s provisions should be interpreted.

In his capacity as an attorney, Nariman participated in a number of significant cases, such as the Golak Nath case (which established that judicial review of constitutional amendments is permissible), the TMA Pai case (which upheld minorities’ freedom to found institutions of their choice), and the SP Gupta and NJAC case (in which he advocated for the autonomy of the judiciary in the appointment of judges). A prolific writer, Nariman was also a former member of the Rajya Sabha. Among the books he wrote were God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Before the Memory Fades, The State of the Nation, and India’s Legal System: Can It Be Saved?

On January 10, 1929, in what was then British India, Nariman was born in Rangoon.

For over 70 years, Nariman practiced law, first at the Bombay High Court and then at the Supreme Court. In May 1972, he was named additional solicitor-general of India; however, on June 26, 1975, the day the emergency was declared, he resigned. Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, his son, was a Supreme Court judge in the past. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi referred to Nariman as a living legend who will always hold a special place in the hearts and minds of people in legal and public life in a post on X. Above all of his many accomplishments, he never wavered from his moral convictions and never hesitated to call a spade a spade—a trait that his intelligent son also possessed, as he stated in the post.

According to Attorney General Tushar Mehta, the country has lost an enormous amount of intelligence and wisdom in addition to the legal fraternity. An icon of what justice stood for has left the nation. We have lost a doyenne, a paragon, and an icon in his own lifetime, but his enormous contribution to jurisprudence has not diminished. Mehta wrote in his message, “Even by just showing up against him, I have always learned something new.” Such giants of intellect, he continued, do not die. Thanks to their contribution, they will always live on. Fali Nariman is not and will not exist again.

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