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Anil Divan, legendary senior counsel & PIL pioneer, died today

Legend Anil Divan, RIP
Legend Anil Divan, RIP

Senior advocate and constitutional law expert Anil B Divan passed away this morning at around 830am, aged 86, according to several posts by lawyers on social media.

Originally from Mumbai, having spent half his career at the Bombay high court, Divan went on to become one of the most respected and socially active of senior counsel at the Supreme Court, having continued arguing in many high profile matters also in recent years and having been one of the founder members of the influential Centre for Public Interest Litigation in the 1980s.

In the 1990s, he made waves as amicus in the Jain Hawala political scandal.

And Divan had been regularly instructed in the Cauvery dispute for Karnataka for decades.

More recently, had been appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the appointment of BCCI administrators, and he made convincing key submissions in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) hearings in 2015.

He was also the co-petitioner with senior counsel Ram Jethmalani in the controversial public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged several governments to take action over black money stashed by Indians abroad.

And in 2013, he was one of the few bar leaders who had called for beginning sensible and “meaningful dialogue” on the entry of foreign law firms, while he was Bar Association of India president.

In a message to members, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) secretary Gaurav Bhatia wrote: “With profound grief I regret to inform the sad demise of Shri Anil Divan Sr Adv father of Mr Shyam Divan Sr Adv who left for heavenly abode.

“It is a great loss to the SCBA & the legal institution. The cremation will take place today at 4:30 pm at the Lodhi Crematorium New Delhi. Gaurav Bhatia Hony. Secretary.”

Advocate Rahul Rao had posted on Facebook: “My grand-senior, senior advocate Anil Divan passes away... Had the privilege of spending an evening with him, just a few days back... Razor sharp mind, a warm enveloping heart. An absolutely down to earth man although he was one India’s finest and amongst its most respected lawyers

Photo via Moneylife Foundation

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