Ram Jethmalani passed away in his residence at the age of 95. With a very successful career in law, Jethmalani was one of the high-profile advocates in India. He was a competent and famous criminal defense advocate.
The quote “Do as men do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends”, best describes the professional and relational conduct that Ram Jethmalani possessed.
In the courtroom Jethmalani was very competent in handling his cases, and he always delivered high-pitched arguments. Once he was finished in the courtroom, he transformed into a warm, friendly, accessible, and jovial person.
He was competitive at his work, but he did not let that get in the way of his relationships outside the courtroom.
Ram Jethmalani was an alumnus of Sind University, where he obtained his law degree at the age of 17. Because the age for practicing law at the time was 21 years, Ram Jethmalani had to obtain a special permission to practice.
His rise to limelight came when he appeared in the famous Nanavati case in 1959 – a case which he appeared with YV Chandrachud.
Other famous cases which Jethmalani appeared in were:
- Balbir and Kehar Singh case involving the assassins of Indira Gandhi
- Haji Mastan’s case
- Case involving the conspirators who assassinated Rajiv Gandhi
- Jessica Lal’s murder case, involving Manu sharma – the victim’s murderer.
- Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani’s case, where Geelani was a suspect in the 2001 Parliament attacks by the Jaish-e-Mohammad
- The corruption case involving Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa
- The 2015 civil and criminal defamation suits filed by late Arun Jaitley involving the Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal
When asked why he decided to defend such cases, he always replied that he was only carrying out his duties as a lawyer.
Jethmalani had a trail record of many cases where he successfully defended his clients. This gained him the status of a ‘crusader for lost causes”.
In his words to CNN-IBN during an interview, he stated that he decides to defend a case according to dictates of his conscience.
According to him, “A lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional conduct”.
He also often stated that “It’s a basic principle of law that everyone, no matter who, deserves a defense”.