Initially, it seemed to everyone that 2020 was the worst year for the world as the coronavirus pandemic started in the year 2020 and we lost many legendary figures to coronavirus such as Former President Pranab Mukerji, Politician Ram Vilas Paswan & most important figure for the legal fraternity in India His holiness Keshavananda Bharti passed away. But we were the wrong year 2020 was nothing in front of 2021 when the 2nd wave of covid-19 came in India where every 2nd person in the house is getting infected with coronavirus infection and many people are struggling hard to find even a single bed in the hospital. India is facing an acute shortage of Oxygen for Covid-19 infected patients.
On 30th April 2021, Legal Fraternity lost one of its Gem! Former Attorney General of India and Distinguished Jurist, Sir Soli Sorabjee, is no more with us. We lost this gem to covid-19, the saddest part. Sir Soli Sorabjee was 91 years old and was survived by his wife, a daughter, and two sons. He was a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan award which is the 2nd highest civilian honor of India. He appeared for the Historic Cases of Keshavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala which is a landmark judgment for Doctrine of Basic Structure in Constitution of India and another case was S.R Bommai v. Union of India which is also a landmark judgment.
Sir Soli Sorabjee was the alma mater of Government Law College, Mumbai and he enrolled in the bar in the year 1953 and 1971 he was designated as a senior advocate at Bombay High Court. Moreover, he was a renowned Human Rights Lawyer who served as Attorney General of India for 2 times, 1st in 1989 – 90 during the tenure of V.P Singh and 2nd in 1998 – 2004 during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Soli Sorabjee was considered closed to Vajpayee Ji, he fought the case for India in the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands when Pakistan wanted to seek compensation from India for drowning its Naval Patrol Aircraft, Atlantic in the year 1999 just after the Kargil War. It was Soli Sorabjee’s excellent Arguments and Submissions which led to ruling in favour of India where ICJ was of opinion that Pakistan has no jurisdiction over the matter and hence India need not required to pay compensation to Pakistan.
Sir Soli Sorabjee was one of the best Constitutional Law experts of our country and he wrote several books related to laws and justice, Censorship, Press & Emergency. He fought passionately for the Fundamental Rights violation case and Human Rights violation cases. His recent win on Fundamental rights violation cases includes the Shreya Singhal Case of 2015 which was based on restriction on Freedom of Speech and Expression Online, where after hearing his arguments the hon’ble court struck down Section 66A of Information Technology Act, 2000. The court found out that Section 66A is unconstitutional as it is violative of Fundamental Right i.e. Freedom of Speech & Expression.
Other notable works of Sir Soli Sorabjee includes –
- Appeared and Worked for Justice’s Committee which represented victims of Anti – Sikh Massacre.
- Appointed as special rapporteur for Nigeria in 1997 by the United Nations to report on the Human Rights situations pertaining in that country.
- He later on became the member & the chairman of the UN- Sub Commission on the Promotion & Protection of Human Rights for the tenure of 1998 – 2004.
- Since 1998 he was also the member of United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
- From 2000 – 2006 he served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at Hague.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ramnath Kovind, Vice – President Venkaiah Naidu are among the bunch of leaders who condoled the death of Legal Luminary Sir Soli Sorabjee.
The Prime Minister tweeted “Shri Soli Sorabjee was an outstanding lawyer and intellectual. Through law, he was at the forefront of helping the poor and downtrodden. He will be remembered for his noteworthy tenures India’s Attorney General. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers.”
President Venkaiah Naidu tweeted “In the passing of Soli Sorabji, we lost an icon of India’s legal system. He was among the select few who deeply influenced evolution of constitutional law & justice system. Awarded with Padma Vibhushan, he was among most eminent jurists. My condolences to his family & associates.”
The new Chief Justice of India, Justice N.V Ramana also condoled on the death of Soli Sorabjee. He said –
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Shri Soli Jehangir Sorabjee, former attorney general of India. In his nearly 68 year-long association with the judicial world, he made immeasurable contribution in enriching the global jurisprudence of human rights and fundamental right.”
From the last 1 year amidst the pandemic we are losing legendary figures who contributed to the welfare of our society & we lost another Gem from legal fraternity Sir Soli Sorabjee. It’s a big loss to nation as well as the whole legal fraternity.
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Very informative, analytical and complete article on Soli Sorabjee.