The passing away of Ram Jethmalani is sad though he enjoyed his life till end. Not many get such an adventurous and complete life as he got. His politics might not be in resonance with the ideas that he fought in the court but one thing was clear, whether he was part of the Bhartiya Janta Party or not, Ram Jethmalani was a man on his own and an absolute constitutionalist.
Ofcourse, every successful person be it lawyer, film maker, authors, social activists, academics, bearucrats, all have one disease in common which is ‘desire’ to be in ‘Parliament’ as if without that they cant survive and they convert themselves into extraordinarily ordinary as none of them could raise issues or change the course of our political destiny. Perhaps, we need more power houses outside parliament, with people who could be a pressure force for the unruly rulers who are turning democratic dictators with the help of media.
Ram Jethmalani was politically part of the Hindutva group but his associations with politicians acorss the party line and the reason for that was that he picked up the most difficult cases, which others might have refused. He fought the case of Kehar Singh and Balbir Singh accused of conspiring to assassinate indira Gandhi. Balbir Singh was ultimately acquitted by the apex court.
After Rajiv Gandhi got massive mandate in 1985 and the clouds of Boforse eclipsed his government, Jethmalani started questioning Rajiv Gandhi on a daily basis which was responded by the Congress goon in a very unprofessional way giving benefit to all those forces who campaigned against Boforse.
When National Front was coming to power in 1989, the question of leadership of the alliance was clear and V P Singh was the choice of most of the parties yet Chandra Shekhar put his foot down and decided that VP will never has his vote and that he cant be allowed to become leader of the alliance unopposed. Jethmalani was upset with Chandrashekhar and was actually manhandled by the supporters of Chandra Shekhar.
He became Minister of Law in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry and could never digest the growing clout of Arun Jaitley who he never considered an able lawyer. Fact of the matter, Jaitley was not really a great legal minds though he was suave and a great networker. The other person that Jethmalani despised by Subramanyam Swamy who he often remarked, the man who dont know abc of law.
Jethmalani was a power house. He never compromised on his legal principals and fought all those cases which brings abuses by the trolls these days. He was a strong votary of article 370 and maintained that it can not be abrogated. Watch an episode where Subranyam Swami was encouraging the abrogation and jethmalani was quoting the constitution of J & K that unless the constituent assembly of the J & K ask for, nobody has the power to abrogate article 370.
Jethmalani fought many cases including that of Lalu Prasad Yadav. He fought for social justice issues as well as those of Asa Ram Bapu but he was categorical that he was fulfilling his legal duties when taking up such cases and cant prejudge a person based on police accusations. Technically, he was right.
While he lived a complete life yet his absence will be noted in the legal circles as he was the person who spoke without fear and intimidation. At the time when our legal fraternity has become more polarised, it is people like Jethmalani who were needed more, who had the capacity of speaking as a dissenting voice to those in power. We have very few left now who could stand up and defend those who have been ‘declared’ as ‘indefensible’ by our media and political class. We cant do it in the greater interest of jurisprudence and legal system. We cant allow people to decide fate of people in the street and at the TV studios. Jethmalani was true to his profession, a thorough professional who defended his clients to the best of his ability and not judged them on the colour of their skins, religion or political ideologies. Sadly , that tribe, totally dedicated to constitutional values and professionalism is now diminishing. In Jethmalani’s death we have lost one such great minds who was fearless and dedicated to his professional duties. His absence will be greatly missed in the legal circles.