After seven decades of an extraordinary career, never without controversy and always on a high amid everything, India’s most pre-eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani announced over the weekend that he was retiring.
Speaking at a function organized by the Bar Council of India, to felicitate the new Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra, the 94-year-old Jethmalani said he was retiring from his law practice, but it was not as if he was moving into vanavas. He said he would reappear in a different avatar, with a different mission.
And, even while announcing his retirement, he let go a parting shot at the NDA dispensation, saying it too had let the country down, quite like the previous UPA government.
He has been reported to have said: “The country is not in a good shape. The previous and the current governments both have let down the nation very badly. It is the duty of the members of the bar and all good citizens to rise to this great calamity.
“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,” Jethmalani said.
He had never really kept his feelings about the government to himself. In a letter (dated August 23) to the Prime Minister (you can read the letter here)—one of the many that he has written—he had said: “You are intelligent enough not to understand my total disappointment with you during the three years that have gone by and each day by providing more and more evidence of your failure as a friend as and a leader of the unfortunate Indian nation that trusted its destiny in your undeserving hands.”
He went on to say: “Your conduct, or rather, gross misconduct no longer compels my silence…”
Then, recalling his now famous comment about “living in the departure lounge of god’s airport”, he criticised the black money return promise of the PM and more.
On Sunday, he said would act as some sort of vigilante in trying to clear up the corruption. And that would be not wearing the black coat of a jurist.
Jethmalani is sure to go out with a bang.
—India Legal Bureau