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We Won't See The Likes Of Him Again

By K T S Tulsi
March 01, 2024 11:04 IST
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His legacy will endure through the countless lives he touched, the legal precedents he set, and the principles he upheld.
K T S Tulsi pays rich tributes to Fali Nariman, the doyen of the legal fraternity who passed into the ages last week.

Fali S Nariman

IMAGE: Fali Sam Nariman. Photograph: ANI Photo

The legal fraternity and nation mourn the loss of one of India's most distinguished legal minds, Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman who departed this world on Tuesday, February 20, at the age of 95.

Nariman's journey through life and the legal field was marked by brilliance, tenacity, and an unwavering commitment to justice.

A stalwart in the field of law, his illustrious career spanned several decades, leaving an indelible mark on the legal landscape of India.

Nariman earned widespread acclaim for his fearless advocacy and legal acumen. His courtroom presence was formidable, and his eloquence unmatched.

He was a distinguished constitutional law advocate who argued many landmark judgments including the renowned National Judicial Appointments Commission case.

He also appeared in the T M A Pai case concerning the scope of minority rights under Article 30 of the Constitution of India, the significant SC AOR Association case, which resulted in the collegium system, and many others.

He famously tendered his resignation as the additional solicitor general of India in June 1975 as a demonstration against the emergency proclamation order issued by the Indira Gandhi administration.

His legal prowess and upright morals earned him respect not only in India but also internationally.

IMAGE: Mr Nariman, right, and Dr Arun Shourie at a protest at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, June 8, 2017, against the CBI raids on NDTV promoters Radhika and Prannoy Roy's homes. Photograph: Subhav Shukla/PTI Photo from the Rediff Archives

An outspoken advocate for secularism and civil liberties, Nariman was a significant public figure whose discerning assessments of judicial developments carried considerable weight.

His principled stand on various issues showcased his commitment to democracy and the Rule of Law.

He was morally upright and duty-bound as an individual so much so that in the final judgment in the Cauvery Water Dispute: State of Karnataka v State of Tamil Nadu, Civil Appeal No. 2453 of 2007 delivered on February 16, 2018, the Supreme Court took note of his stand on the issue and observed: 'We think it necessary to state here that Mr. Nariman had courageously lived up to the highest tradition of the Bar.'

In addition to his legal prowess, Nariman was a celebrated author, penned several books that reflected his thoughts on law, politics, and life.

His book Before Memory Fades is widely read among young lawyers and continues to be a source of inspiration for aspiring legal minds.

In his autobiography, 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.'

Fali S Nariman

IMAGE: A prayer meeting for Mr Nariman at the Parsi Anjuman Dharmshala in New Delhi, February 23, 2024. Photograph: Amit Sharma/ANI Photo

Nariman's passing leaves a void that will be challenging to fill.

His legacy will endure through the countless lives he touched, the legal precedents he set, and the principles he upheld.

As the nation bids farewell to this legal luminary, his contributions in the pursuit of justice will be remembered with gratitude and respect.

Today, he has bequeathed forth a substantial body of original work that serves as a source of motivation for forthcoming generations to aspire to and emulate his standards, as they transcend temporal boundaries.

May his soul rest in peace.

K T S Tulsi is a senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP from Chhattisgarh.

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