Demise: 8th September 2019
Ram Jethmalani, eminent Supreme Court lawyer and former union law minister, passed away at his residence on Sunday, just six days short of his 96th birthday.
My friend turned foe turned very good friend Ram Jethmalani passed away today at 95 years age. Farewell friend
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 8, 2019
Sad news coming in.. the iconic lawyer, a man who was probably the finest criminal lawyer this country has seen, who could woo and intimidate judges in equal measure.. a political gadfly, legal master and a gent who lived life king-size.. Ram Jethmalani has expired at 95. RIP
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 8, 2019
Extremely saddened at the passing away of legendary lawyer Ram Jethmalani ji. An institution in himself, he shaped criminal law in post-independence India. His void would never be filled and his name will be written in golden words in legal history.
RIP Ram sir
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 8, 2019
Ram Jethmalani, one of the most senior and prominent advocate, who has represented several high profile cases is no more. He passed away this morning. He was 95.
— Sangeetha Kandavel (@sang1983) September 8, 2019
Tribute to Ram Jethmalani by Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate. “He had Tremendous Powers Of Concentration“
Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, has paid tribute to Ram Jethmalani for his sheer brilliance and advocacy.
The late G Ramaswamy, who was the former Attorney General, used to tell his juniors that the two finest arguments that he heard in his life were Jethmalani’s arguments in the Antulay case and the Kehar Singh case, the latter involving the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
The other thing about Jethmalani was his tremendous power of concentration. He would work 8-9 hours at a stretch. He would make extremely detailed notes. In one of the matters involving Swiss bank accounts in the Bombay High Court, he had compartmentalised his notes. Every topic had separate detailed notes.
He was a great constitutional lawyer as well, not only a criminal lawyer. He was a great champion of reservation, which I was opposed to.
He always had a new angle to a case. In Madras, there was the Ram Prasad Rao Commission, where he cross-examined a number of witnesses. It was an absolute treat to watch him.
Ram Jethmalani’s advice was to eat less and never miss exercise. 8:00-9:00 am was badminton time for him, no matter what happened. If he missed playing badminton, he would exercise on the treadmill for 45 minutes instead.
He was also an outstanding teacher. Apart from the law, his knowledge about Islam was profound. He could also recite verses from the Celestial Song – a translation of the Bhagwad Gita.
We can learn a lot from him. He was very thorough and prepared for cases extremely well.
Students and the younger generation can learn from #RamJethmalani’s tremendous powers of concentration, says Senior Advocate Arvind Datar.
— The Fineprint (@BQthefineprint) September 10, 2019
Ram Jethmalani was one of the most celebrated lawyers of the Country.
He was born on 14th September 1923. Despite his advanced age, he had the energy of a young person.
One could see Ram Jethmalani arguing matters in the Supreme Court and the High Courts, with full vigor and energy.
He was more than a match for his younger opponents, both in terms of physical energy as well as legal acumen.
Ram Jethmalani’s fees are an issue of great interest to everone, from budding lawyers to lay citizens. Everyone wants to know what Ram Jethmalani charged for each case that he handled for his celebrity clients.
This issue is answered in a definitive manner by the fees charged by Ram Jethmalani in the matter of defending Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation suit filed by Arun Jaitley in the Delhi Court.
Ram Jethmalani charged a retainer fee of Rs. 1 crore and an appearance fee of Rs. 22 lakh.
His total fees in the matter amounted to Rs. 4 crore.
There was a controversy over whether the Delhi Government should pay the fee or not.
Ram Jethmalani then stated that he will waive the fee and appear for Arvind Kejriwal free of charge.
In his younger days, Ram Jethmalani earned income which ran into tens of crore. He was a very busy lawyer with several important and high stake matters to argue in a day.
He was one of the highest taxpayers of the Country, with an income equivalent to that earned by other leading lawyers like Nani Palkhiwala, Fali Nariman, Soli Sorabjee etc.
Later, Ram Jethmalani substantially curtailed his practice. He appeared in only a handful of matters in a year.
Also, several of the matters that he appeared in were public interest matters (such as the Triple Talaq matter) where he did not charge a fee.
Nevertheless, given that Ram Jethmalani was still very much in demand by his clients for consultation matters, his annual income even towards the later part of his life could be estimated to be a few crore.
The net worth of Ram Jethmalani’s estate may be close to Rs. 100 to 200 crore. He was a leading lawyer for several decades (more than 60 years). He charged heavy fees for the major part of his career and had been earning very substantial income. He carefully invested his savings in blue-chip MNC stocks and real estate, both in India and in foreign countries.
The appreciation in the value of the blue-chip MNC stocks held by him as also the appreciation in the value of prime real estate makes the net worth of his estate at Rs. 100 to 200 crore very realistic.
There are several famous cases in which Ram Jethmalani made his mark as a brilliant advocate.
His last reported judgement in that of the Supreme Court in State of Jharkhand Through SP, CBI vs. Lalu Prasad Yadav Criminal Appeal No. 394 of 2017.
Ram Jethmalani defended Lalu Prasad Yadav in the appeal filed by the CBI challenging the order of the Jharkhand High Court discharging Lalu Prasad Yadav from criminal conspiracy.
The appeal was decided against Lalu Prasad Yadav and he was held liable to stand trial for criminal conspiracy despite the best efforts of Ram Jethmalani.
Some of Ram Jethmalani’s earlier celebrated cases include the Harshad Mehta case, the Narasimha Rao bribery case, Asaram Bapu’s case, Jayalalitha’s case, Subrata Roy Sahara’s case, Kanimozhi (2G) case, Manu Sharma’s (Jessica murder) case, Baba Ramdev’s case etc.
Towards the end of his career, Ram Jethmalani argued the important Triple Talaq matter in the Supreme Court. He appeared on behalf of an organisation called Forum for Awareness of National Security (FANS) (an RSS affiliate) which demanded a ban of the practice of Triple Talaq.
Towards the later part of his lifetime, Ram Jethmalani did not accept any interns owing to his pre-occupation with politics and curtailment of practice.
However, when he was in active practice, he did have interns learning the ropes of legal practice in his Chambers.
Marriage and Wife
Ram Jethmalani had two wives named Ratna and Durga Jethmalani.
He married both before the introduction of the Hindu Marriage Act 1956 and so was legally entitled to have two living wives.
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 prohibits a Hindu from having more than one wife at a time.
Children – Mahesh and Rani Jethmalani
Mahesh Jethmalani, the son, is an accomplished lawyer in his own right. He has a very large practice in criminal law and is a much sought after lawyer by leading celebrities.
Mahesh Jethmalani also has a number of important cases to his credit. He is frequently seen arguing matters in the Bombay High Court.
Mahesh Jethmalani is married to Haseena. The couple jas a teenage daughter.
Rani Jethmalani, the daughter, was also a leading lawyer, focusing on PILs and social/ women issues. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago after bravely battling a prolonged illness of the liver.
On 9th September 2017, Ram Jethmalani announced his retirement from practice at a function organised by the Bar Council of India to felicitate new Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra.
#BREAKING Ram Jethmalani retires from legal practice.
— Republic (@republic) September 10, 2017
“I am here just to tell you I am retiring from the profession but I am taking on a new role as long as I am alive. I wish to combat the corrupt politicians that have been brought into the position of power and I hope the condition of India will take good shape,” he said.
— Vishal (@glahsiv) September 10, 2017