Political leaders from across the spectrum paid tribute to veteran lawyer and former union minister Ram Jethmalani who died at his residence in Delhi on Sunday morning. He was 95. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid their tribute to the legal veteran, with PM Modi remembering Mr Jethmalani's "fortitude and fight for public liberties" during the Emergency years of 1975-77.
"Saddened by the passing of Shri Ram Jethmalani, former Union Minister and a veteran lawyer. He was known to express his views on public issues with his characteristic eloquence. The nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a person of great erudition and intellect," President Kovind said.
The prime minister, in a series of tweets, said: "India has lost an exceptional lawyer and iconic public figure who made rich contributions both in the Court and Parliament. He was witty, courageous and never shied away from boldly expressing himself on any subject".
Ram Jethmalani had strongly supported Mr Modi's prime ministerial bid in 2014. Ties between the two, however, had strained in the later years.
I consider myself fortunate to have got numerous opportunities to interact with Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji. In these sad moments, my condolences to his family, friends and many admirers. He may not be here but his pioneering work will live on! Om Shanti.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 8, 2019
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's office also expressed grief at the renowned criminal lawyer's death, calling him a "dear friend".
"Deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Shri Ram Jethmalani, former Union Minister, a legal luminary & one of the brilliant minds of Bharat. In his passing away the nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a great intellectual & a patriot, who was active till his last breath," tweeted the Vice President.
On a personal note, I have lost a dear friend with whom I had a very long association both as Minister and as a member of Parliament.— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) September 8, 2019
My condolences to the bereaved family members. May his soul rest in peace. #RamJethmalani
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was among the first leaders to pay his tributes to the six-term Rajya Sabha member. Calling him a "legendary lawyer", Mr Kejriwal said: "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".
Mr Jethmalani had briefly represented Arvind Kerjiwal in a defamation case filed by former Union Minister Arun Jaitley.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi extended condolences on Mr Jethmalani's death to his family and friends, the party said in a statement. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his condolence message, said: "Deep condolences on the demise of Shri Ram Jethmalani. In his death India has lost an eminent jurist, an able administrator and a seasoned parliamentarian."
Home Minister Amit Shah visited Mr Jethmalani's residence to pay his final tributes on Sunday. He later tweeted: "Deeply pained to know about the passing away of India's veteran lawyer and former Union Minister Shri Ram Jethmalani ji. In him we have not only lost a distinguished lawyer but also a great human who was full of life".
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in his tribute to Mr Jethmalani, recalled "his brilliance, eloquence, powerful advocacy and sound understanding of law".
Deeply condole the passing away of the veteran lawyer and former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani. His brilliance, eloquence, powerful advocacy and sound understanding of law will remain a worthy example in legal profession. My profound condolences.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) September 8, 2019
Ram Jethmalani served as the Law Minister twice in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led governments. He later contested against the former Prime Minister in the 2004 general election from Lucknow, but lost.
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