SC pays tribute to former Union law minister Hansraj Bhardwaj, 2 others

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The Supreme Court held a full remand in court on Thursday to pay tribute to former Union Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj, former Indian Bar Council President Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha and Chief Barrister and former Deputy Chairman of the NM Ghatate Law Commission. Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana, other Supreme Court Justices and Attorney General KK Venugopal were among those who paid homage to deceased souls during the reference held in the auditorium of the new premises of the supreme court. A full court reference is held for deceased Supreme Court Justices and Senior Counsel as a mark of respect and remembrance for their service to the court and the legal profession. “My brother and sister judges join me in conveying our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of Dr Hansraj Bharadwaj, Shri Suraj Narayan Prasad Sinha and Dr NM Ghatate. We pray to the Almighty to give them strength to bear this loss irreparable.” CJI Ramana said in the full court citation. Attorney General KK Venugopal and Chairman and Chief Counsel of the Supreme Court Bar Association Vikas Singh also paid tribute to the former justices. Dr. Bhardwaj was born on 17th May 1937 and his journey in the legal profession started in 1960 when he completed his LL.B. and registered with the Delhi Bar as a Barrister. “In time, Dr. Bhardwaj’s inclination for politics led him to become legal adviser to the late Smt. Indira Gandhi. In 1971, his continued success in the profession was noticed and he was appointed as an additional Attorney General to Delhi He has been hired to defend several high-profile figures, including prominent political leaders.

“In 1982, Dr Bhardwaj became a member of the Rajya Sabha of Madhya Pradesh. In January 1985, his two professional worlds of politics and law merged when he was appointed Minister of State for Law and Justice in the cabinet of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.” said Ramana. Dr Bhardwaj was later appointed Cabinet Minister for Law and Justice after the 2004 general election, he said. “During her tenure, Dr. Bhardwaj spearheaded various legislative reforms – including women’s rights to property, right to information, right to secure rural employment, reservation of women, access to justice and digitalization of the justice system.” He has been widely recognized for championing the principle of separation of powers and judicial autonomy and independence which is at the heart of our structure of governance. Dr. Bhardwaj was a pioneer and played a crucial role in laying the foundations of the International Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution in 1996…”Dr. Bhardwaj was very close to my heart. Whenever he was in Hyderabad, I had the privilege of sharing a drip coffee with him. I will cherish the warmth and affection he showed me. He left for his heavenly home on March 8, 2020,” said Ramana Sinha was born on 23rd July 1930 and in 1957 he joined the bar as a civil practitioner at Samastipur in Bihar.”He was deeply committed to the legal profession and making the law accessible to all was his motto. He was at the forefront of opening a law school in his home town of Samastipur in 1978. “He was first elected as a member of the Bihar Bar Council in 1985 and since then he has not never lost an election to the State Bar Council. After serving in the High Court in Patna for ten years, he was appointed Senior Barrister. He was later elected President of the Indian Bar Council in 2008,” said Ramana Sinha breathed his last on July 24, 2020. Dr. Ghatate was born on July 21, 1937 and was appointed as a senior counsel by the Supreme Court in 1989. “Dr. Ghatate has appeared before this Court in several landmark constitutional cases, such as ADM Jabalpur, AK Roy and Gajanan Bapat. In Charles Sobhraj v. Union of India, he advocated for the vital need for prison reforms. It also appeared in the famous Ram Bahadur Rai case in 1975 concerning the scope of the right to peaceful protest in a democracy,” the CJI said. Dr. Ghatate became Vice Chairman of the Law Commission in 2003. “His affinity for the law is evidenced by his writings. He is the author of several books such as ‘Death under the Shadow of Judiciary’ and ‘India’s Disarmament Policy’, as well as many other articles. Dr. NM Ghatate departed for his heavenly abode on January 24, 2021,” Ramana said. PTI PKS

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