Friday, September 29, 2023

From father to son: 5 pairs of judges and lawyers who have served India’s justice system

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Nothing can match the feelings of a man when the world recognises him by the name and achievements of his son. However, the joy is multiplied when the pair of a father and son enroll and graduate in law on the same day!

A 54-year-old expat, who returned to Kerala in 2015 after 25 years abroad, decided to join a law college in 2017, the decision was seconded by his son Gabriel, who appeared for the entrance test with his father. They enrolled on the same day and graduated together, making it a rare feat.

As Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud braces to take over as the 50th Chief Justice of India, becoming the first son of a CJI to take up the post after his father Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, here’s a look at five such pairs in the country, who entered the legal profession and made a niche for themselves, while giving it their all.

Former CJI Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud and Chief Justice of India-designate Dhananjaya Yashwant Chandrachud

If being the son of the longest serving Chief Justice of India was not enough, Justice DY Chandrachud will also have to live up to the expectations of having Justice Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud as father, who was also known as Iron Hands, for not letting anything slip his notice.

The landmark judgements of senior Justice Chandrachud include the Kissa Kursi Ka case involving Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi, Shah Bano case related to maintenance rights of divorced Muslim women and the Habeas Corpus case, regarding suspension of Right to Life under the Indian Constitution during the Emergency.

Justice DY Chandrachud has given landmark verdicts on varied subjects, ranging from entry of women in Sabarimala temple to decriminalisation of Section 377 IPC, from commissioning of women in Indian Army to extending abortion rights for unmarried women and minors.

Fali Sam Nariman and Rohinton Nariman

Fali S. Nariman has been practising law for the past 70 years. The eminent jurist is among the few legal luminaries to have received both the Padma Bhushan (1991) and the Padma Vibhushan, respectively the second and third highest civilian awards in the country.

Rohinton Nariman became the youngest lawyer to be designated Senior Advocate at the age of 37. He became the fifth person to be directly elevated from the Bar to be a Judge of the Supreme Court in 2014. His landmark judgements include declaring privacy as a fundamental right, declaring triple talak illegal and unconstitutional, and striking down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan

Philanthropy and judicial activism runs in the blood of senior advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan, who along with his father, has remained in the forefront of exposing corruption in the legal profession.

The eldest son of renowned Advocate Shanti Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer himself, Prashant Bhushan was a member of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, which supported activist Anna Hazare’s campaign for implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill. After a split in IAC, he helped Team Anna form the Aam Aadmi Party. Both Prashant and his father Shanti Bhushan were the founding members of AAP.

In 2015, the Junior Bhushan made several allegations against the party’s leadership and functioning, apart from its deviation from the core ideology, values and commitments. He is one of the founders of political party Swaraj Abhiyan and an Institute of Public Policy and Politics, Sambhaavnaa.

As per the Junior Bhushan, he has taken up about 500 cases dealing with ‘good causes’. He said his family background allowed him to work on such cases on a pro-bono basis, adding that he spends only 25 percent of his time on paid cases, charging five per cent of what other lawyers charge.

Shanti Bhushan is a renowned lawyer, who served as Union Law Minister from 1977 to 1979 in the Morarji Desai government. The Senior Advocate of Supreme Court was instrumental in bringing down the Congress government after the Emergency in 1977.

Shanti Bhushan represented Raj Narain in the Allahabad High Court in a case against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The High Court found Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices, declared her election victory from Rae Bareli as null and void, and barred her from holding any elected office for the next six years. This led to the imposition of the Emergency on June 26, 1975 and ultimately, led to the fall of the Congress government after 30 years of Independence in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.

Hari Shankar Jain and Vishnu Jain

Hari Shankar Jain is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, who started practicing law in 1976. He was instrumental in getting orders from court in 1993 to open the doors of Babri Masjid for Hindus. He represented the Hindu Mahasabha in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, and is a litigator or attorney in at least 12 cases involving Hindu/Jain deities.

His son Vishnu Jain completed law in 2010 and started assisting his father. Along with Gyanvapi, there are 110 such disputed cases, in which the father-son duo are fighting on behalf of Hindus. The oldest case dates back to 1990. These include Mathura’s Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah case, the Qutub Minar complex dispute, the claim of Taj Mahal as a Shiva temple, among several others. Vishnu Jain is also a spokesman for the Hindu Justice Front.

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