However, he has represented a sweep of cases from the high-profile to the controversial for which he has often faced severe criticism. He’s the highest-paid Indian lawyer.
Ram Jethmalani’s Biography: An Indian Lawyer And Politician
Ram Jethmalani obtained a law degree at the age of 17 and started practising law in his hometown (in today’s Pakistan) until the partition of India. He married Durga Jethmalani and later, his second wife, Ratna Jethmalani. The partition led him to move to Mumbai as a refugee and he began his life afresh with his family. He has 2 sons and 2 daughters, of whom, Mahesh Jethmalani and rani Jethmalani are also well known lawyers.
He was elected a member of parliament within the 6th and 7th Lok Sabha on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket from Mumbai. He has served as Law Minister of India and also as Minister of Urban Development during the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee against whom he later contested election in the general elections of 2004 from Lucknow constituency. However, in 2010 he came back to BJP and was elected to Rajya Sabha on its ticket from Rajasthan. He has been criticised as being opportunistic because of this.
Jethmalani could be a documented face amongst the legal profession in Republic of India. Despite the fact that his forte lies in legal code, he has appeared in several high-profile civil cases. Hence, from 1993 to 1998, he was one amongst the lawyers who depicted Harshad Mehta throughout the Harshad Mehta scam and also the Narasimha Rao bribery case. On 7 May, 2010 he was elective because the president of Supreme Court Bar Association.
Ram Jethmalani was born Shikarpur in the Sindh division of the then Mumbai Presidency, now part of Pakistan in the family of Boolchand Gurmukhdas Jethmalani and Parbati Boolchand. However, he got a double promotion in school and completed matriculation at the age of 13. He secured an LLB degree at the young age of 17 from S.C. Shahani Law College, Karachi. Although, at that time, the minimum age for becoming a lawyer was 21, but a special resolution allowed him to become a lawyer at 18. However, he received his L.L.M. from S.C. Shahani Law College, Karachi.
Ram Jethmalani was married at an age of little above 18, to Durga, in a traditional Indian arranged wedding. In 1947, simply before partition, he also married Ratna Shahani, a lawyer by profession. Although, his family today includes both wives and four children – 3 by Durga (Rani, Shobha, Mahesh) and one by Ratna (Janak).
Jethmalani still maintains good physical and mental health. However, he is a strict vegetarian, eats only 2 meals a day and fasts on Tuesdays. He wakes up early to enjoy a game of badminton for an hour, eats some fruit, usually works through lunch while drinking buttermilk, and he says for dinner “I take my 2 whiskeys, and occasionally a little bit of ice cream”. after the landing of the overnight flight at 1.30 am, the one-hour trip to the hotel, 91-year-old Jethmalani was in court 10.30 am sharp on 30 September to fight for his client Jayalalitha.
In 1971, Ram Jethmalani contested as an independent candidate from Ulhasnagar supported both by the shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Sangh but he lost the elections.
However, following his criticism of the Emergency period and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he was forced to flee to Canada from where he came back 10 months after the Emergency was known as off. While in Canada, his electioneering was filed from Mumbai North-West body and he went on to win the election and retained the seat within the 1980 general elections that he lost to Sunil Dutt of the Indian National Congress in 1985.
In the 1977 general elections after the Emergency, he ousted the serving Law Minister H.R. Gokhale from Mumbai within the Lok Sabha Elections and started his political career as a Parliamentarian. However, he wasn’t appointed as law minister immediately.
However, in 2010 he came back to BJP and was elected to Rajya Sabha on its ticket from Rajasthan.
Known primarily as a criminal lawyer, he has appeared in several high profile cases including the defence of Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, a number of gangsters and smugglers, Afzal Guru. He also represented Manu Sharma, the prime accused in the Jessica Lall murder case, but didn’t get him acquitted.
Some Famous cases which he has taken up are:
- Defence of Rajiv Gandhi‘s killers in Madras High Court in 2011.
2. Defence of Indira Gandhi‘s killers
3. Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh’s defence in stock market scam
4. Underworld don Haji Mastan
5. Defended death sentence of Afzal Guru
6. L K Advani’s defence in Hawala Scam
7. Manu Sharma’s defence in Jessica Lall murder case
8. Amit Shah‘s (Gujarat’s former Minister of State for Home) defence in Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
9. Amit Jogi’s defence (son of Ajit Jogi) in the case of Ramavatar Jaggi murder case.
10. Kanimozhi’s defence in Spectrum 2G case
11. Yeddyurappa’s case on illegal mining scam
- Conflict of Laws, 1955
- Justice: Soviet Style and
- Big Egos and Small Men; Contributor of articles to Indian Express, Illustrated Weekly, Asian Age and Tehelka
Awards and Achievements
Jethmalani has been the recipient of prestigious awards such as International Jurist Award, World Peace Through Law Award and Human Rights Award by World Peace Through Law (1977) for his work in against fascism in Philippines.