Advocate Ram Jethmalani


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Yes the maverick himself, we know you must have heard about various interesting cases that he has fought and many controversies he has been into. But did you know when Ram Jethmalani got his Law degree he was just 17 years of age and was not allowed to practice Law according to the Laws of the Bar Council which didn’t allow anyone to practice law below the age of 21.

But the maverick was too hungry for his first case that his first battle in the court he fought was for him to be allowed to practice Law. Since the rule of the age 21 was introduced later he appealed to the Chief Justice that he should not be affected by the Law which was introduced later when he did enter the Law School. The Chief Justice did accept his plea and made some exceptions in the Law, so he was allowed to take his first case at the age of 18 making him become the youngest advocate in the history of our country.[1]

So Dear Students, when you hear from people that you should have a lot of patience or you cannot take up Law, do give a second thought.


Ram Jethmalani (born 23 September 1923) is a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Senior Advocate (Supreme Court of India) and an eminent professor of law. He has served as India’s Union Law Minister and as Chairman of Bar Council of India. As a lawyer, he has represented a sweep of cases from the high-profile to the controversial for which he has faced both accolades and severe criticism.

Ram Jethmalani, known as a maverick lawyer with many distinctions to his credit, obtained a law degree at an early age of 17 and started practicing law in Karachi until the partition of India. The partition led him to move to Bombay as a refugee and he began his life afresh with his family. He first married Durga, at the age of eighteen, and later Ratna Shahani, who was herself a lawyer, in the year 1952. Mr. Jethmalani has two sons and two daughters, of whom, Mahesh Jethmalani and Late Rani Jethmalani are also well-known lawyers.

Writing work-

Mr. Ram Jethmalini has published many books, namely ‘Justice Soviet Style‘, ‘Big Egos Small Men‘, ‘Conscience of a Maverick‘, ‘Maverick: Unchanged, Unrepentant‘. He has also written books on various law subjects such as Private International Law, Media Law, and Conflict of Laws. He also has two biographies written after him, ‘Ram Jethmalani: An Authorized Biography‘ by Nalin Gera; and ‘The Rebel‘ by Susan Adelman.[2]

Early Life of Mr. RAM JETHMALINI-

Ram Jethmalani was born on the 14th of September 1923 in a small town called Shikharpur, located in the Sindh region (currently in the provinces of Pakistan). He was an intelligent kid in school and got a double promotion, hence completing his matriculation by the age of 13. Later, he enrolled into a college for a degree in Law. Ram received his LLB when he was just 17 years old, but the degree did not entitle him to practice law. This was because to represent a person in court as their lawyer requires a minimum age of 21. But, Ram appealed to the legal system and after giving it due consideration, he was appointed as a practicing lawyer at the age of 18.

Ram was first married to Ratan in 1947 and fathered a son named Janak. When his family moved to India, he met his second wife named Durga who was a lawyer by profession. The couple married soon after and they had three children i.e. Rani, Shobha and Mahesh.


Ram Jethmalani started his career as a lecturer in a Pakistani educational institution, before the partition. Then he started his own law firm with a friend, A.K. Brohi. A few years later when the political insurrections began in Karachi, he and his family took refuge in India. Like several other people, he started a new life in Bombay and continued to practice Law.


In 1953, he became a visiting lecturer at a Government Law College in Mumbai. Here, he taught undergraduate and postgraduate students. Ram extended his training to Comparative Law at the Wayne State University in Detroit. It was not until 1959 that he became a well-known face. In the same year that he appeared in the famed case, K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra along with another lawyer, Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud.


In the 1960’s, Jethmalani appeared as a defense lawyer for a series of smugglers. This had a negative outcome on his public image and earned him the title of ‘a smuggler’s lawyer’. His unruffled demure and astute sense of judgment set him apart from the rest of the attorneys in the country. Ram Jethmalani has previously served as the Chairman of the Bar Council of India for four terms before and after the Indian Emergency. Besides this, he has also been a member of International Bar Association in 1996.

In 1971, this famous lawyer entered the world of politics by standing as an independent candidate, under the guidance and support of the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Jan Sangh. Despite his influential backing, he lost the elections. Thereafter, the period of Indian Emergency began, where Ram held the position of Chairperson of the Bar Association of India. Ram Jethmalani was said to have disparaged Indira Gandhi for which an arrest warrant was issued. But the case was nullified as he won the overwhelming support of 300 other lawyers. Political tension in the country made him shift base to Canada but he still continued to protest against the Emergency by filing for his candidature.

Finally, he won the elections. After this, he returned to India and tried to contest in the elections held in 1985 but he lost to Sunil Dutt. In the following years, he became a Parliamentarian and initiated his political movement called Bharat Mukti Morcha in 1987.

Political Career-

Mr. Ram Jethmalani was elected as a member of parliament in 6th and 7th Lok Sabha on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket from Bombay. 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 in General Elections of 2004 from Lucknow constituency.

The next year, he became a Rajya Sabha member and in 1996, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs that was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Jethmalani also launched his own party called Pavitra Hindustan Kazhagam. During the then Prime Minister’s tenure, Jethmalani was appointed as the Union Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment in 1998 and Union Minister for Law, Justice & Company Affairs in 1999 for a brief period. He also proclaimed his contention for the President of India.

In 2004, he contested for general elections and lost by a fair number. 6 years later, he got a pass into the Rajya Sabha of Rajasthan by the Bharatiya Janta Party.

He is a well-known face amongst the legal community in India. Even though he is primarily known as only a criminal lawyer, he has appeared in many important cases concerning constitutional matters. On 7 May 2010, he was elected to be the President of Supreme Court Bar Association. He is also the Professor Emeritus of Symbiosis Law School, Pune; and has also served as the Chairman of the weekly newspaper ‘The Sunday Guardian’.

Awards and Accolades 

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 the Philippines.

The Great Advocate Ram Jethmalini announced his retirement on 09th Septmebr,2017 at the age of 93.


1923: Ram was born in Sindh during the British Raj.

1948: He sought refuge in India and settled in Mumbai.

1953: He took up lecturing at a Government Law College.

1959: Jethmalani was in the limelight for the infamous case of K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra.

1960: Appeared in other criminal cases and was labeled as the ‘smuggler’s lawyer’.

1971: He entered the political scene.

1977: Received the Human Rights Award by World Peace Through Law.

1985: Lost the second round of elections to Sunil Dutt.

1988: Ram became a member of the Rajya Sabha.

1996: He was appointed the The Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs during the period of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

1998: Jethmalani was the Union Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment.

1999: The position of Union Minister for Law, Justice & Company Affairs was given to him for a short period.

2010: He was appointed as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

2017: He announced his retirement at the age of 93.[3]



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