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Tributes pour in for Ram Jethmalani; Prez, PM hail eminent jurist

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 8, 2019  | 21:31 IST

(Eds: Adds quotes) New Delhi, Sep 8 (PTI) A host of country's top leaders on Sunday condoled the demise of Ram Jethmalani, with President Ram Nath Kovind hailing him as a "distinguished jurist" and others remembered him as an "iconic public figure" and a crusader in both law and politics. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered their tributes to the former Union minister. "Saddened by the passing of Shri Ram Jethmalani, former Union minister and a veteran lawyer. He was known to express his views on public issues with his characteristic eloquence. The nation has lost a distinguished jurist, a person of great erudition and intellect," the President's Secretariat tweeted. Naidu, in his tweet, said Jethmalani was "one of the brilliant minds of Bharat" and in his death, the nation has lost "a distinguished jurist, a great intellectual and a patriot who was active till his last breath". Modi said Jethmalani was "witty, courageous and never shied away from boldly expressing himself on any subject". "In the passing away of Shri Ram Jethmalani Ji, India has lost an exceptional lawyer and iconic public figure who made rich contributions both in the Court and Parliament," the prime minister tweeted. Former president Pranab Mukherjee also paid tribute to the legal luminary on Twitter. "Saddened at the passing away of Shri #RamJethmalani. A stalwart lawyer, MP & former Union Minister, he will always be remembered for his outstanding legal acumen, indomitable spirit & incisive wit. My condolences to his family & friends," he said. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also condoled the demise of Jethmalani, saying in his death India has lost "an eminent jurist, an able administrator and a seasoned parliamentarian". Jethmalani, 95, passed away on Sunday at 7.45 am at his official residence in New Delhi. He died a few days before his 96th birthday on September 14, his son Mahesh Jethmalani told PTI. His mortal remains were cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium in the evening. Mahesh Jethmalani, his son and a senior advocate, lit the funeral pyre. Ram Jethmalani's daughter Shobha and his daughter-in-law were present. Other senior leaders from across the political spectrum joined in paying homage to the veteran jurist who was widely respected for his legal acumen and incisive thinking. Home Minister Amit Shah described his passing away as an "irreparable loss" to the entire legal community. "Deeply pained to know about the passing away of India's veteran lawyer and former Union Minister Shri Ram Jethmalani ji. In him we have not only lost a distinguished lawyer but also a great human who was full of life," he tweeted. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Jethmalani made valuable contribution to the legal field. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar also expressed condolence in a tweet: "Saddened by the passing away of distinguished jurist and Rajya Sabha colleague, Shri Ram Jethmalani ji. Condolences to the bereaved family". Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also tweeted to express his condolences. "My friend turned foe turned very good friend Ram Jethmalani passed away today at 95 years age. Farewell friend," he said. Senior Congress leaders too joined in paying rich tributes to him, describing him as "fearless" and a "crusader in both law and politics". Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief over the demise of the eminent jurist and extended her condolences to his family and friends. "Ram Jethmalani is no more. A crusader in both law and politics he stood steadfastly for the causes he took up. His knowledge in criminal law was matched by none," senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal tweeted. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted to offer tributes, saying, "Extremely saddened at the passing away of legendary lawyer Ram Jethmalani ji. An institution in himself, he shaped criminal law in post-independence India. His void would never be filled and his name will be written in golden words in legal history. RIP Ram sir". CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: "Deep grief at the passing away of Ram Jethmalani. He was a dear friend, fellow Parliamentarian and a legal legend. Deepest condolences to his family and the large number of friends and admirers". Attorney General K K Venugopal said the country has lost its finest lawyer who was bold and handled the most sensational criminal cases and constitutional matters. Opposition leader Sharad Yadav said Jethmalani was a "very good friend of mine" and in fact he was "a friend of friends". "He was a fighter who used to contest with tremendous energy, knowledge and logics not only in Courts but also in Parliament and public forums. He was a great thinker, philanthropist and always ready to help friends not only in the Courts but in general also," Yadav said in his condolence message. Jethmalani was Union law minister and also Urban development minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. He was born in Shikarpur in Sindh province (now in Pakistan) on September 14, 1923 and obtained a law degree at the age of 17. PTI TEAM KND ABH ABH

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