ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Death of Distinguished Lawyers

Where Will the Next Ones Come From?

While remembering the death of two distinguished senior advocates—Anil Divan and Tehmtan R Andhyarujina—this article remarks that there is a class of lawyers called “senior lawyers” who are recognised as the best in knowledge, acumen and forensic ability. Unfortunately, the quality of this category has been debased by the high courts (some worse than others) and, alas, the Supreme Court itself.

When a judge of the Supreme Court or a distinguished lawyer of the Court dies, there is a Full Court reference. All the judges assemble in their Court regalia. The Court is full. It is impossible to get in. The relatives of the deceased are present. The registrar general calls the meeting to order. The Attorney General speaks first from a typescript, followed by the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and sometimes the president of the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association. Then the Chief Justice of India (CJI) reads his speech. The texts are usually prepared by some researcher. Though, in some cases, these include emotional memories of the person. The relatives are invited to tea with the judges. The Court sits late. The proceedings being those of a Court of records are preserved with decreasing care. In some high courts, the ceremony is shifted to 3:30 pm to save time. It is a mystery how all the judges manage to grace the occasion in large courts like Allahabad.

On 2 May 2017, the Supreme Court held a Full Court reference for Anil Divan and Tehmtan R Andhyarujina, both distinguished senior advocates originally from Mumbai. Divan, an advocate par excellence, was known for his acumen and patience with the Court, but did not suffer fools gladly in pre-hearing lawyer conferences. As a former president of LawAsia, his name in innumerable law reports shows the width of his practice and his commitment to legal justice in all its senses and with a camaraderie for kindred spirits.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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