Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Former Attorney General Ashok Desai passes away

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Former Attorney General and Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of India Ashok Desai passed away in the early hours of Monday morning at around 5.30 AM.

He held office as the Attorney General for India from 9 July 1996 to 6 May 1998. He was the Solicitor General of India from 18 December, 1989 to 2 December, 1990.

As a Senior Advocate he appeared in a large number of cases involving issues of Constitutional Law and Competition Law. Some significant cases include – Sakharam Binder, Piloo Modi, Antulay, Ramanna Shetty, Narasimha Rao about Parliamentary privilege, Vineet Narain, and the list is unending.

Mr. Desai was the Chairman of the Committee on Administrative Law of International Bar Association in 1986-88 and Consultant to the Commonwealth Workshop on Administrative Law at Lusaka, Zambia in 1990. In 1997, He presented India’s Report to the United Nations Committee on Human Rights in Geneva and in 1998 he led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Committee on Money Laundering Bill in Vienna.

On his completion of 50 years in Bar, Senior Advocate Fali Nariman said,

Mr Desai’s entire legal career shows that it is not enough merely to know your law but important to know many things outside the law as well.

Part of his golden words on Law Day, 1996:

Speech Law Day 1996 – On Monday, the 26th November, 1996 in the Supreme Court Premises
by Ashok H. Desai, Attorney General of India.

Senior Advocate Dr. Pradeep Rai, speaking to India Legal said that “Mr. Desai was one of the finest members of the Bombay Bar. He always upheld the dignity of the office of Attorney General. It is said that many attorney general in the past used to visit cabinet ministers, but with Mr. Desai in the office, the cabinet ministers used to visit him. He was very friendly and supportive of junior members of bar and supported the cause of poor sections of the society.”

Obituary poured in from all the members of bar and bench across the country for the departed soul and condolences for the family members of the former attorney general.

India Legal Bureau

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