'Exceptional lawyer, iconic public figure': Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rajnath condole Ram Jethmalani's death, pay tributes to ex-law minister

  • Narendra Modi, expressing grief over Ram Jethmalani's demise, said that he considered himself 'fortunate' to have got numerous opportunities to interact with Jethmalani

  • Home Minister Amit Shah said that Jethmalani's death was an 'irreparable loss' to the entire legal community.

  • Several Opposition leaders from the Congress and CPM also extended condolences to Jethmalani's family after his demise

Politicians across party lines condoled the demise of veteran Supreme Court lawyer and former Union minister Ram Jethmalani, who passed away on Sunday morning at his residence in New Delhi at the age of 95. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted saying that Jethmalani was "an exceptional lawyer and iconic public figure" who made significant contributions both in the court and the Parliament. "He was witty, courageous and never shied away from boldly expressing himself on any subject".

Modi remembered Jethmalani as someone who had the ability to speak his mind freely and without fear. "During the dark days of the Emergency, his fortitude and fight for public liberties will be remembered. Helping the needy was an integral part of his persona," Modi added.

The prime minister also said that he considered himself "fortunate" to have got numerous opportunities to interact with Jethmalani. President Ram Nath Kovind also paid a tribute to the former law minister and said, "Saddened by the passing of  Ram Jethmalani. He was known to express his views on public issues with his characteristic eloquence. The nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a person of great erudition and intellect".

Home Minister Amit Shah said that Jethmalani's death was an "irreparable loss" to the entire legal community.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh condoled the passing of the veteran lawyer and said, “Deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji. Blessed with knowledge and intelligence he made noteworthy contribution to lawmaking and pubic life”, he tweeted.

Condoling Jethmalani's demise, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the country has lost a "great intellectual and a patriot".

Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy, calling Jethmalani a "friend turned foe turned very good friend", bid the former Union minister a "farewell".

Several Opposition leaders from the Congress and CPM also extended condolences to Jethmalani's family after his demise.

While CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also expressed grief over the death of Jethmalani, and said he had lost a "dear friend", Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi also paid tribute to him. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also conveyed grief over Jethmalani’s demse. He said, "In his death, India has lost an eminent jurist, an able administrator and a seasoned parliamentarian”.

Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "Ram Jethmalani is no more. A crusader in both law and politics he stood steadfastly for the causes he took up. His knowledge in criminal law was matched by none". "He was also a bundle of affection. The nation has lost a great son. May his soul rest in peace," he said in a tweet.

Another senior advocate, Abhishek Singhvi said Jethmalani, with whom he shared great camaraderie, will be missed. "Feisty, ebullient, fearless, outspoken to a fault, uncaring of consequences or of societal norms, he had a large heart and a restive temperament. Always a crusader, his mind and body remained good almost to the end," Singhvi tweeted.

"Ram and I shared great chemistry, despite our age differences & despite the fact that we agreed on 25 percent  issues, it never affected personal affection and regard. I always provoked him by saying that there is no party left in the country to send him to Rajya Sabha where he spent decades!" he said in another tweet.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot condoled the passing away of Jethmalani. "Heartfelt condolences at the passing away of eminent lawyer and former Union minister, Shri Ram Jethmalani. May God give strength to his family members. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said that with the passing away of the noted jurist Jethmalani, the country has lost its finest lawyer who was bold and handled the most sensational criminal cases and constitutional matters. "His passing away is a great loss not only to the Bar in the country but also to Parliament and the country as a whole," Venugopal told PTI.

Venugopal said that Jethmalani's boldness set him apart as one of the finest lawyers that the country had. "According to me, he was a lawyer, was larger than life handling the most sensational cases, especially criminal cases as I, therefore, told him once that he is a leader of the criminal Bar of the country. His retort was, 'I am also the number constitutional lawyer'. This is because he was handling cases across the board". He remembered him as a senior advocate who was there in most of the big criminal appeals and constitutional cases.

Jethmalani breathed his last at 7:45 am at his official residence, his son Mahesh told PTI, adding that his father had not been keeping well for a few months. Mahesh Jethmalani said his father's last rites will be performed on Sunday evening at the Lodhi road crematorium.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 08, 2019 12:15:28 IST