Justice Bhagwati, 95, is survived by his wife Prabhavati Bhagwati and three daughters. The funeral will be held on June 17, they said.
The 17th Chief Justice of India, Justice Bhagwati remained on the highest judicial post between July 1985 and December 1986. He also served as Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court and was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in July 1973.
As a Supreme Court judge, Justice Bhagwati introduced the concepts of public interest litigation (PIL) and absolute liability to the Indian judicial system.
As a champion of PILs, he had ruled there was no need for a person to have any locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court) to knock the doors of a court on the issue of fundamental rights.
He was also instrumental in furthering the cause of prisoners when he ruled that they too enjoyed fundamental rights.
One of the important judgements pronounced by him was in the Maneka Gandhi passport impounding case in 1978 in which he elaborated the concept of right to life, and ruled that a person's movement cannot be restricted. He had ruled that a person had full right to hold a passport.
He was the lone dissenting judge in the Minerva Mill case who upheld the 42nd Constitution amendment during Emergency. It was struck down by a majority verdict.
In the Minerva Mills case, the Supreme Court provided key clarifications on the interpretation of the basic structure doctrine. The court had ruled that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution is limited by the Constitution. Hence Parliament cannot exercise this limited power to grant itself unlimited power.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of Justice of India PN Bhagwati. Mr Modi said that he made the judicial system more accessible.
The demise of Justice PN Bhagwati is saddening. He was a stalwart of India's legal fraternity. My deepest condolences.- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 15, 2017
Deepest condolences on demise of former CJI PN Bhagwati , his contribution to judicial system shall always be remembered #PresidentMukherjee- President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) June 15, 2017