Legal Luminary Fali S Nariman Passes Away at the Age of 95

Veteran constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate Fali S. Nariman, renowned for his pivotal role in shaping India’s legal landscape, passed away at the age of 95.

On January 10, 1929, Fali Sam Nariman, an iconic figure in Indian legal circles, was born, marking the beginning of a journey that would see him become one of the nation’s most esteemed constitutional lawyers. With a career spanning several decades since becoming a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India in 1971, Nariman’s contributions to Indian law are unparalleled. His tenure as President of the Bar Association of India from 1991 to 2010, and his recognition as a global arbitrator, underscore his profound impact on both national and international legal arenas.

Nariman’s educational journey began at Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, followed by undergraduate studies at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. His academic excellence continued at the Government Law College, Mumbai, where he topped the Advocate’s Examination in 1950, setting the stage for a distinguished legal career.

His professional life has been marked by a series of prestigious positions and honors, reflecting his expertise and dedication. Nariman’s roles have included Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court since 1971, Additional Solicitor General of India, President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, and many others. His influence extends to the International Commission of Jurists and the London Court of International Arbitration, among other significant legal bodies.

Nariman’s legal prowess was particularly evident in landmark cases such as the Union Carbide Corporation v Union of India, where he navigated complex negotiations to aid victims. His autobiography, “When Memory Fades,” reflects on this case with a mix of professional pride and personal regret, highlighting the moral complexities of legal practice. His involvement in transformative cases like the Golak Nath, S P Gupta, and TMA Pai Foundation cases has left a lasting legacy on the Indian judicial system.

Nariman’s life and work have been recognized through numerous awards, including the prestigious Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal for Roman Law and Jurisprudence, and the Gruber Prize for Justice. His receipt of the 19th Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award from Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu further cements his status as a legal luminary.

The Vis Moot East’s Fali Nariman Award, named in his honor, continues to inspire young legal minds, embodying Nariman’s enduring influence on the field of law. As Nariman’s journey unfolds, his life remains a beacon of excellence and integrity for future generations in the legal profession.

His legacy is furthered by his son, Rohinton Nariman, who followed in his footsteps as a senior advocate and Supreme Court judge.

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