Thought I saw a prophet in action: CJI remembers Soli Sorabjee

Thought I saw a prophet in action: CJI remembers Soli Sorabjee

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Late eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee played a pivotal role in “crafting our country’s jurisprudence” and upholding the Constitutional values of fundamental rights and freedom would be a tribute to him, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said Sunday.

Speaking at a remembrance ceremony for the legal stalwart, CJI Ramana recalled that Sorabjee “apart from his Courtroom genius,…was an epitome of grace, modesty, humility, integrity and kindness, which always stood out to me”. He added that Sorabjee’s untimely death was a “complete shock”.

“He lived his life wholly on his terms and pursued his diverse passions with great energy. He left an indelible mark on many,” Ramana said.

“We shall continue to remember the great human qualities he possessed which can help us through these difficult times”, Ramana said and underlined that “his spirit and confidence in the constitutional ethos of this country, and his never-ending quest for justice should be our guide”.

Recalling his own experience while he was still a lawyer, the CJI said that in the early days of his career, he had the chance to witness Sorabjee’s brilliance.

“In 1988, I met Soli to brief him on a matter relating to the then Chief Minister of my state. Even before I started briefing him, I realised that he had already read the entire file and had the details of the case at his fingertips, which reflected his dedication to the brief. The briefing lasted just 5 minutes, in which Soli asked me only two questions. To my surprise, at the hearing, those were the very same questions posed by the bench to Soli. I thought I had seen a prophet in action,” Ramana remembered.

Sorabjee started his practice in the Bombay High Court in 1953, when the freedom movement was still fresh in the nation’s mind and the movement and the vision of the framers of the Constitution influenced him greatly, the CJI said.

“He was a man with an unflinching faith in the Constitutional ideals, particularly those relating to the freedom of speech and human rights. He was a defender of civil liberties during the tough Emergency era. He played a crucial role in some of the most iconic cases which have defined the legal landscape of this great nation…It can be said in unequivocal terms that he played a pivotal role in crafting our country’s jurisprudence. He brought honor and glory not only to himself, but to the institution as a whole”.

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