Eminent Jurist Fali S Nariman Passes Away


01:27 PM

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What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in News?
  • Who was Fali S Nariman?
  • What were Some of Nariman's Landmark Cases?
  • Other Renowned Cases of Fali S Nariman

Why in News?

  • Eminent jurist and Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman passed away at the age of 95.
  • His career as a lawyer spanned over 75 years with the last half-century being spent as a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India.

Who was Fali S Nariman?

  • Nariman (born in 1929 in Rangoon [British India]) began his legal career by enrolling as an advocate of the Bombay High Court in 1950.
  • His stature grew, and he was designated as a senior advocate in 1961. He moved to New Delhi to practice in the Supreme Court of India in 1972.
  • In 1972, Nariman assumed the role of additional solicitor-general of India. However, he resigned a day after the Emergency was imposed on June 26, 1975.
  • Nariman received the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and in 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
  • Nariman was not only a renowned legal figure but also a prolific author. Among his notable works are -
    • "Before the Memory Fades,"
    • "The State of the Nation,"
    • "India’s Legal System: Can it be Saved?" and
    • “God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
  • His son, Justice Rohinton F Nariman, formerly served as a judge on the Supreme Court. 

What were Some of Nariman's Landmark Cases?

  • I.C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab (1967): Parliament cannot curtail fundamental rights.
    • The petitioners challenged the Constitution (17th) Amendment Act 1964 as it amended Article 31A of the constitution. Fali Nariman appeared on behalf of the petitioners.
    • A majority of 6 out of the 11-judge bench held that Article 13(2) states that Parliament cannot make a law which infringe fundamental rights.
  • The Second Judges Case:
    • In 1981, the constitution bench of the SC held that the requirement under Article 124 of the Constitution, stating that the CJI must be “consulted”, means that there must be an exchange of views.
      • Hence, there is no necessity for “concurrence” between the CJI and the President.
    • This decision was challenged in 1987 and Nariman (representing the case) argued the advice given through consultation with the CJI must be seen as
      • This is to protect the independence of the judiciary, as judges would be in a better position to determine the suitability and competence of candidates.
  • The Third Judges Case: Nariman made submissions to assist the court in this case.
    • The President of India exercised his power under Article 143 of the Constitution and asked (SC) for clarification on the procedure for appointment of judges following the 2nd judges case.
    • In 1998, the court clarified that the CJI must consult other judges of the SC before making any recommendations for judicial appointments.
    • Further, it expanded the size of the SC Collegium to five senior most judges from the existing three.
  • National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case:
    • The NJAC Act 2014 amended the Constitution to insert Article 124A which created a six-person commission for judicial appointments.
    • Nariman represented the case challenging NJAC and argued that the NJAC would impinge upon the independence of the judiciary.
    • Four of the five judges on the bench agreed with this view in 2015 and struck down the NJAC, reinstating the collegium system for judge appointments.

Other Renowned Cases of Fali S Nariman

  • Bhopal gas tragedy (Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India) case 1989:
    • Senior Advocate Nariman appeared, representing Union Carbide, and offered to pay a sum of 426 million dollars as compensation to the victims of the tragedy.
    • In 1989, Union Carbide reached a settlement with the central government and agreed to pay 470 million dollars as compensation.
  • TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (2003):
    • Nariman argued in the landmark case in support of minority rights to establish and administer educational institutions under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
    • The court held that linguistic and religious minorities have to be determined on a state-by-state basis and clarified that government regulations cannot “destroy the minority character of the institution”.
  • Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker (2016): Governor to act only upon the aid and advice of the council of ministers, CM.
    • While navigating the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, Nariman (on behalf of the house whip Bamang Felix) argued that the governor did not have the power to advance the assembly session.
    • This could only be done upon the aid and advice of the council of ministers and the CM, as per the constitution.
    • The court agreed and restored the Congress government, led by CM Nabam Tuki.
  • Cauvery Water Dispute (State of Karnataka v State of Tamil Nadu) case:
    • Nariman represented Karnataka for over 30 years in the water-sharing dispute with Tamil Nadu.
    • In the final judgment passed in 2018, the court took note of Narimans stand and reduced Karnataka’s annual water releases to 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) from 192 TMC.

Q1) What is the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India?

The Supreme Court has special advisory jurisdiction in matters which may specifically be referred to it by the President of India under Article 143 of the Constitution.

Q2) What is the difference between Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution?

While Article 29 protects the rights of members of communities who have distinct language, culture, and script, Article 30 protects minority rights with regard to establishing and managing educational institutions.

Source: ‘Legal fraternity is intellectually poorer today’: eminent jurist Fali S Nariman passes away at 95 | IE | HT