Our Judges the best
Ram Jethmalani, the face of criminal advocacy in the country, has completed 75 years of exemplary service in the highly competitive, dog-eat-dog world of the legal profession. At a time when even the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court of India, serving or otherwise were not even of the length of his professio nal service. Truly a remarkable achievement anyway you look at it.
He has a number of high-profile defence cases to his credit as a lawyer — people involved in market scams (Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh), and a host of gangsters and smugglers including the British citizen Daisy Angus who was acquitted of hashish smuggling after serving 5 years in jail. He also defended L.K Advani in Hawala Scam. Recently he was in the news for taking up the defence of Manu Sharma, prime accused in the Jessica Lall murder case, however, he failed to get Manu Sharma acquitted. He is now going to be defending Lalit Modi – former IPL Chairman and Commissioner.
Supreme Court Bar Association of India (SCBA) has felicitated him on October 4 which in itself was a distinguishing feature given the professional rivalry or otherwise at the corridors of the high seat of Indian Judiciary. In terms of professional competence, Ram Jethmalani surely and unequivocally the best lawyer on Evidence Act. So much so that another doyen of Indian legal profession K Parasaran likened him and said “It is a privilege to share the stage with Jethmalani. I have never come across a lawyer in the country with such knowledge about Evidence Act”.
It was famously said that “What Jethmalani enjoys in the evening, Parasaran avoids all day. While Parasaran starts his morning with prayers and would even have his car go around temple when coming to court, Jethmalani enjoys all the beautiful things in life. After retirement I am considering adopting a bit of both”, he said amidst peals of laughter. It is illuminating to know in the words of Ram Jethmalani as to how he entered the profession despite discouragement from his father.
“My grandfather was a very successful lawyer but my father was equally unsuccessful”, he said before narrating the story of Shoshanna and Daniel which inspired him to take up law.He also had some words of praise for the judiciary and the Supreme Court, which he termed as singularly responsible for the survival of Indian democracy.“Despite the odd pitfalls, of all the public institutions in the country, our judges are the best. If democracy has survived in India, it is because of the judiciary, Supreme Court”, he said amidst loud applause.