Former Attorney General, Soli Sorabjee, succumbs to Covid-19

He was 91-year-old and will be remembered as a legal eagle, Padma Vibhushan recipient, and a lover of jazz 

soli sorabjee

Soli Jehangir Sorabjee, one of India’s pre-eminent legal scholars who served as India’s Attorney General has died of Covid-19 related complications. The 91-year-old Padma Vibhushan recipient was being treated at a private hospital in Delhi after he tested positive for Coronavirus infection, and passed away on Friday morning. 



Sorabjee will be remembered as a Jazz Connoisseur and had a large circle of friends and admirers from all walks of life. He was born in 1930 in Bombay (now Mumbai), had enrolled at the bar in 1953, and was designated senior counsel by the Supreme Court in 1971. He served as the Attorney General for India from 1989-90 and then  again for a second term from 1998 to 2004 during the first NDA government.

Awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his work in upholding human rights in India, Sorabjee was appointed a UN Special Rapporteur for Nigeria in 1997. He was also a part of the UN Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and was its chairman from 1998 to 2004. He was also a member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Sorabjee was a member of the UN world court or the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague from 2000 to 2006. And in 2002, he became a member of the Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution of India. He has been an advocate and argued for freedom of speech and press freedom.

According to a tribute in the Hindustan Times Sorabjee joined jurist Nani Palkhivala and veteran lawyer Fali S Nariman to fight the Keshavanand Bharati case in which the doctrine of the basic structure of the Constitution was evolved by the apex court in 1973 and fetters were imposed on Parliament’s power to alter the Constitution of India.

He was also the petitioner’s lawyer in the famous SR Bommai case, where the Supreme Court’s 1994 verdict “that the power of the President to dismiss a state government is not absolute and is also amenable to judicial review on certain grounds” is a historic legal landmark. In 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, Sorabjee worked with Citizen’s Justice Committee and took the case pro bono for the victims, recalled the HT. 

The Supreme Court Bench led by CJI Ramana, condoled the passing away of the former Attorney General for India.



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