Ram Jethmalani

Ram Jethmalani
Ram Jethmalani.jpg
Minister of Law and Justice
In office
16 May 1996 – 1 June 1996
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byKotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy
Succeeded byRamakant Khalap
In office
June 1999 – 23 July 2000
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byM. Thambidurai
Succeeded byArun Jaitley
Minister of Urban Development
In office
19 March 1998 – 14 June 1999
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
8 July 2016 – 8 September 2019
In office
5 July 2010 – 4 July 2016
In office
In office
In office
3 April 1988 – 2 April 1994
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byHari Ramchandra Gokhale
Succeeded bySunil Dutt
ConstituencyMumbai North-West
Personal details
Born(1923-09-14)14 September 1923
Shikarpur, Bombay Presidency, British India
(now Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan)
Died8 September 2019(2019-09-08) (aged 95)
New Delhi, India
Political partyRashtriya Janata Dal (After 2016)
Other political
Bharatiya Janata Party (1980–85)
Janata Dal (1989–93)
Pavitra Hindustan Kazhagam (1995)
Bharatiya Janata Party (2010–2013)
Durga Jethmalani
(m. 1941; his death 2019)

Ratna Jethmalani
(m. 1947; his death 2019)
Residence2, Akbar Road, New Delhi, India[1]
Alma materS.C. Shahani Law College, Karachi- University of Bombay

Ram Boolchand Jethmalani (14 September 1923 – 8 September 2019) was an Indian lawyer and politician. He served as India's Union minister of law and justice, as chairman of the Indian Bar Council, and as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. He was noted in the Indian legal fraternity for his forte in criminal law and high-profile civil cases.

Jethmalani obtained his LL.B. degree at the age of 17 and started practising law in his hometown, Shikarpur, until the partition of India. The partition led him to move to Mumbai as a refugee where he began his life and career afresh. He announced his retirement from judicial profession in 2017.

Throughout his political career, Jethmalani worked for improving the relations between India and Pakistan, owing to his experiences as a refugee post-partition. He was elected as member of the Lok Sabha twice, on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tickets, from the Mumbai North West constituency. He also served as the union minister of urban development in the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry, against whom he later contested election in the 2004 Indian general elections from the Lucknow constituency. He later returned to BJP in 2010, and was elected to the Rajya Sabha on its ticket.

Jethmalani was awarded with the Human Rights Award by World Peace Through Law in 1977. He authored books such as Big Egos, Small Men, Conscience of a Maverick, and Maverick: Unchanged, Unrepentant among others. He also co-authored legal scholarly books on different fields of law.

Personal life

Jethmalani was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in the Sindh division of the then Bombay Presidency (today a part of Pakistan) to Boolchand Gurmukhdas Jethmalani and Parbati Boolchand.[2] He got a double promotion in school and completed matriculation at the age of 13. At the age of 17 he secured an LL.B. degree from the Bombay University with a first class distinction. At that time, the minimum age for becoming a lawyer was 21, but a special exception (resulting from an application that he made to the court contesting the rule regarding minimum age) allowed him to become a lawyer at the age of 18.[3] He received his LL.M. from Bombay University, since Sindh did not have a university of its own at that time.[1]

Jethmalani married his first wife, Durga, in a traditional Indian arranged marriage, around the age of 18. In 1947, just before partition, he married his second wife, Ratna Shahani, a lawyer by profession. His family includes both of his wives and four children – three by Durga (Rani, Shobha, Mahesh) and one by Ratna (Janak).[3][4] Among his two sons and two daughters, Mahesh and Rani have been supreme court lawyers while Mahesh is also a BJP leader, and Rani a social activist.[5]

Jethmalani died on 8 September 2019 in New Delhi at his home.[6] According to his son Mahesh Jethmalani, he was unwell for the last few months and died at 7:45 AM (IST), six days short of his 96th birthday.[7][8]