Sorabjee helped shape the ‘basic structure doctrine’ | India News
NEW DELHI: Covid-19 killed one of India’s tallest legal luminaries, Soli J Sorabjee, whose illustrious career contributed to shaping the constitutional jurisprudence of India, including the doctrine of the basic immovable structure proposed by the Supreme Court in 1973, and the international field of human rights. He was 91 years old.
Sorabjee is survived by his wife Zena, his daughter Zia, a lawyer, his eldest son Jehangir, who is a doctor, and Hormazd, a car journalist. Starting out as a junior on Jamshedji Kanga’s chamber in the late 1950s, he soon gained proficiency and made his mark. So much so that he complemented the great jurist Nani Palkhivala by assisting the constitutional court of 13 CS judges in the Keshavananda Bharati case, resulting in the formulation of the most important doctrine: the unattainable basic structure of the Constitution.
After Sorabjee was appointed attorney general for the first time, Palkhivala had written a congratulatory note in which he said: “The greatest glory of the attorney general is not to win cases for the government, but to ensure that justice is served to the people.” Sorabjee made conscious attempts to live up to the great jurist’s golden words.
Like most successful Parsi lawyers, including Fali S Nariman, TR Andhyarujina, and RF Nariman (now a SC judge), Sorabjee never tolerated an unprepared young man and always had a stern message for the lawyers assisting him: listen to the judge. and understand what you are asking for. . Sorabjee also did not allow young or even wealthier clients to venture near him if they had a common cold. Knowing the levels of hygiene that he maintained both at home and in the chamber, it is surprising that the coronavirus broke through Sorabjee’s precautionary shield.
He was appointed additional attorney general in 1977 and attorney general first in December 1989 and then again in 1998.
CJI NV Ramana said in his message of condolence, “Sorabjee will be remembered as a legend who added strength to the pillars of democracy. In his nearly 68-year association with the judicial world, he made an immeasurable contribution to enriching the global jurisprudence of human rights and fundamental rights.
“The issues that he argued before the courts and the sentences that he was able to obtain; internationally renowned books, essays, newspapers and newspaper articles of his authorship; the independent opinions that he was able to offer the government in his capacity as attorney general all bear witness to his deep commitment to democratic values. Not only did he live up to the mandate of the attorney general enshrined in the Constitution, but he also raised the bar in the performance of his constitutional duties. ”
Justice DY Chandrachud He said: “During a legal career going through Kesavananda Bharati (1973), Maneka Gandhi (expansion of the right to life, 1978), Sunil batra (prisoners’ rights, 1978) DC Wadhwa (who stopped routine enactment of ordinances, 1987) and SR Bommai (famous judgment on restricting the Center’s power to remove state governments under section 356, 1994), Soli has shaped and remodeled the attempt to give cohesion and stability to legal doctrine ”.
He was awarded Padma vibhushan in 2002.