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“We the nation, we the people were fortunate to have had such a legend amongst us,” said Justice DY Chandrachud at the Palkhiwala centenary year lecture in Delhi last weekend.

The lecture is part of a series of events  that kicked off on January 16 this year and will culminate on January 15 2020 to celebrate the life and times of Nani Palkhivala (January 16, 1920 –December  11, 2002) eminent advocate, economist, orator, scholar writer, champion of civil rights and an activist being undertaken by Lex Consilium Foundation, a company within aim to motivate students and young professionals to imbibe the sterling qualities of hardwork, integrity and patriotism.

A Steering Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachaliah  will oversee the various events during the centenary year. The main activities planned incude :

  • Quiz on Constitutional Law was held on Sunday 3rd February, 2019 in which 54 teams from law colleges all over India took part.
  • Release of a book titled “Bemisaal Palkhivala” authored by Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar in Hindi.

Souvenir to be released at the valedictory lecture planned in January, 2020.

  • Release of a commemorative postage stamp.
  • Palkhivala Lectures series by eminent judges, jurists, public figures, media and academic on issues of major contemporary relevance in light of cases where Palkhivala. One lecture will be conducted every month. Later all lectures will be compiled in the form of a book for greater dissemination.

The First Palkhivala lecture was delivered by Justice Madan Lokur, former Judge, Supreme Court of India on the topic “Rule of Law and Role of Free Citizens” on 13 the February, 2019 at the ISIL Auditorium. The event was presided by Ashok Desai, Senior Advocate and former Attorney General for India.

Delivering the second lecture in the series, Justice Chandrachud spoke on the subject “A borrowed Constitution: facts or myth” and said Palkhiwala dedicated the larger part of his life to the protection of this idea of the constitution, which he believed was crucial to the development in the modern India. Such was  the passion that he brought into the Keshanananda Bharti case hearing that one Supreme Court Judge was heard observing that “It was not Nani who spoke, it was divinity speaking through him”.

In conclusion, Justice Chandrachud  said: “Freedom cannot be inhaled in the blood stream. Each generation will have to defend it and fights for it then alone will it survive to passed on to the next.”

The third Palkhivala will be held on 3 April, 2019 wherein Justice Indu Malhotra of the Supreme Court will deliver lecture on the subject “An overview of the Arbitration Landscape in India”. The function will be presided by. Gourab Banerji, Senior Advocate while P H Parekh, Senior Advocate will be the distinguished guest.

—India Legal Bureau

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  1. Mr. Palkhivala was undoubtedly a genius and every Indian is proud of him especially because he boldly pointed out so many weaknesses and malpractices of our legal system.

    But, it is a shame that we (especially lawyers and judges) pay only a lip service to him.

    Let me give you a concrete example.

    Supreme Court has held in, inter alia, State of Madhya Pradesh v J.S. Bansal (1998) 3 SCC 714, Paras 13-14, that if DE is terminated in favour of an employee, the sealed covers should be opened “immediately” and “without delay”.

    However, State of Maharashtra and High Court of Delhi have been dragging one such case for the last seven years.

    Facts: DE dated 6.7.1988 came to be terminated by High Court on 28.3.2012, after 24 years.

    Alleged plea of SOM is that due to an alleged fire that took place on 21.6.2012, sealed covers have been destroyed.

    And, an alleged reconstruction of record has been allegedly going on for the last seven years.

    On 28.2.2019, matter was adjourned by High Court of Delhi to 28.3.2019 to enable State of Maharashtra to search for the said sealed covers in the office of Union of India.

    On 28.3.2019, again, matter was adjourned to 16.5.2019 for the said purpose.

    And so on and so forth……Ad infinitum.

    But, common law abhors infiniteness.

    The petitioner is being driven from pillar to post. He is a senior citizen; suffering from bronchitis asthma and other old-age-related diseases. He is already exhaused and frustrated. He is virtually living in the departure lounge of God’s airport. His legal heirs (settled abroad) shall not be interested to take the litigation to its logical end.

    Entire career ruined.

    SOM and DHC are out-shylocking Shylock.

    Sealed covers destroyed in a fire. Searching for them till eternity in Milky Way!!!

    The level of insensitivity is appalling.

    Seven long years!!!!!

    State of Maharashtra cannot be allowed to take advantage of its own wrongs.

    But, High Court has been adjourning the matter for last seven years on one false and flimsy pretext after the other, which is not in consonance with its highest traditions.

    Those who are at the helm of affairs seem to lack common sense in an uncommon degree.

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more complicated. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

    When Supreme Court has laid down the law for opening the sealed covers immediately, how and why Delhi High Court not showing due regard, obedience and deference to the said law?

    I felt constrained to file a criminal contempt petition arising out of the said obstruction of administration of justice. But, out of patience, good sense and moderation, I have restrained myself.

    Let there be a real transformation and a nation-wide movement for transforming our Courts and Judges Judges from caterpillars into butterflies.

    Vijay Kumar Agarwal, Ex-IAS, Mobile: 9560172716, Phone: 011-22485508

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