< Previous |
| Next >

Ram Jethmalani

See more videos


The Law’s Rapier Edge

It took a special resolution to award Ram Jethmalani, then 18, a law degree, because the minimum age to become a lawyer at the time was 21. That was the first of many times in his life that Jethmalani broke the rules, in the professional and personal space.

Although primarily a criminal lawyer, he has appeared in some of the country’s most contentious court cases — usually to immense criticism by those who argue that he defends the indefensible. Jethmalani is unmoved, pointing out it is a lawyer’s duty; he appeared for the killers of former prime minister Indira Gandhi; for stock-market scamsters Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh; for Afzal Guru, who was later convicted for the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament; and for Manu Sharma, accused of shooting former model Jessica Lall dead.

His fearlessness as a lawyer has found parallel in the political arena, when he openly criticised Indira Gandhi during the Emergency, leading to a warrant for his arrest. Despite that, he has had an eventful political career, having been Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs on two separate occasions, as well as Minister for Urban Affairs. He has also headed the Bar Council of India on four occasions and is currently a member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha.

His personal life has been no less controversial — he married twice, the second time on the eve of Partition, when polygamy was permitted in Pakistan. His family includes both wives and four children, two of whom are successful lawyers in their own right.

< Previous | /
| Next >