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Ram Jethmalani

21 October 2013

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has filed a defamation case against the BJP party’s parliamentary board for expelling him from the party in May 2013, claiming Rs 50 lakh from each of the 11-odd members of the board.

(However, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee were not listed as respondents.)

Jethmalani filed his case in the Delhi high court on 5 October, alleging that the decision to expel him from the party for six years was unconstitutional, arbitrary and driven by malice and a desire to defame the senior criminal lawyer and Rajya Sabha member [IBN Live / ANI]

11 October 2013

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani talked to the Wall Street Journal in typically freewheeling and candid manner about his representation of godman Asaram Bapu, who was accused of sexual assault on a teenager. Excerpts:

RamJet on reports that the alleged victim had a condition that attracted men towards her: “That’s misreporting by the press.  I have never said it, I don’t know what this was saying, the reporters there don’t understand English.”

RamJet, aged 90 and famously husband to two wives, on Bapu’s alleged (im)potency: “Frankly I have not heard of a potency test at this time, how do you test a person’s potency? The only way to test his potency is to expose him to some member of the opposite gender. But there’s no reason to think that a man of 74 is totally impotent.”

On his practice, revealing that “of course, naturally” Bapu paid him well: “I am too busy in my work, I’m not merely a lawyer, I’m a member of Parliament, I’m a teacher of law, above all I’m also running my newspaper. I’m the chairman of board of The Sunday Guardian. My practice is of a different kind from other lawyers. I make tons of money at the bar, but I do it from 10% of my clients. Mr. Bapu is in the 10%.”

On unpopular cases: “I have got a rule of professional conduct that no lawyer should choose to defend a client on the ground that other people believe him to be innocent, or that you don’t believe him to be innocent, or that the defense will bring you unpopularity.”

04 February 2013

Supreme Court Breaking: Alleged proclaimed offender and Andhra Pradesh high court (HC) judge NV Ramana will continue as a judge in that HC, after the Supreme Court (SC) today dismissed the petition challenging his appointment and imposed costs on each of the petitioners.

09 January 2013

RamJet Silicon Valley-based Q&A site Quora, which is popular in the California tech community that includes many Indians, non-resident or otherwise, has voted Ram Jethmalani as the world’s “most badass lawyer”.

14 December 2012

No Image FoundSenior advocate MN Krishnamani defeated senior advocate Rupinder Singh Suri by 136 votes to be elected the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) until May 2013 in yesterday’s first-of-its-kind SCBA members-only poll, in which 1340 advocates voted. 547 members voted with Krishnamani.

05 December 2012

Supreme Court: Changing of the guardBreaking: Senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and PK Jain today withdrew their candidature for Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president just before today’s 4:30pm deadline by which nominations for the 2013 elections could be withdrawn. Their withdrawals from the race follow senior advocate Adish Aggarwala yesterday, reducing the race for the SCBA president’s office to one between only three candidates after the incumbent PH Parekh did not run again for the post.

03 December 2012

Scenes from Tuesday's dramatic GBM (Photo: @DKMahant)Exclusive: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) elections for 2013 will be held on 13 December, months behind the conventional schedule of polling in May and with the compact voter list of 1372 bar members, after the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that those voting in other bar association elections cannot vote in the SCBA elections.

22 October 2012

India Today dockets the lives and times of India’s top eight senior advocates. All of them keep expensive hobbies and none of them bill below Rs 5 lakh – per appearance.

The oldest active lawyer in India, Ram Jethmalani: Aged 90, and enrolled at the bar as the youngest member at age 18, he maintains an envy-invoking Badminton court in his Lutyen’s Delhi bungalow and bills above Rs 40 lakh per matter.

The former law minister recently defended the Gujarat government in the 2002 riots, Baba Ramdev in the case of police lathicharge at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds, the 2G accused, and the Ansals in Delhi’s Uphaar cinema tragedy.

The Philanthropist, KTS Tulsi: The former solicitor general is a vintage-car collector, and can be roped in for Rs 5 lakh per appearance or for free, depending on the cause.

The cause has driven him to oppose the Ansals in Uphaar, refuse to defend the Gujarat state government at the SC after chief minister Narendra Modi justified the Sohrabuddin encounter, and be a special prosecutor in the Punjab terror attacks, during the peak of his career as defense counsel.

The most expensive, Harish Salve: Pianist, Bentley-enthusiast, jazz music lover, and Apple (the company) loyalist, Salve minted Rs 4.5 lakh per appearance until his stakes touched the pinnacle after his recent Rs11,000 crore Vodafone win in the SC.

Once Soli Sorabjee’s junior, anybody who matters in corporate India was (at least) once the former solicitor general’s client – including the Ambani borthers, Keshav Mahindra, Ratan Tata.

But he has fought free too, namely, amicus curiae in the Gujarat riots case and in the environment matters heard by the green bench of the SC. He also appeared against the accused in Uphaar.

The king of miscellaneous times, Mukul Rohatgi: Known for lung power, which he uses during arguments as well as for bustling between courtrooms on miscellaneous days with his extra-heavy load of matters, Rohatgi is a supercar collector, Atlas Shrugged reader, traveller and art-connoisseur.

The former additional solicitor general has been a favourite with politicians including Varun Gandhi and Jayalalitha, and the commonwealth scam accused.

The corporate lawyer, Aryama Sundaram: Plays golf, represents cricket, offers cigars.

The BCCI is a regular client while FICCI was a client in the 2G presidential reference.

The constitutional law expert, PP Rao: “Even judges cannot ignore Rao's interpretations”, writes India Today about the former SCBA president whom the SC looks to despite its own law officers – for instance in the 2G presidential reference, or in the 1992 president’s rule imposition post Babri Masjid.

Controversy’s king, Gopal Subramanium: The former solicitor general of India held the government’s hand through the Kasab trial, the 1993 Bombay blasts, and the recent petition against the grand prix formula 1 race.

The Sherwani-clad, Sushil Kumar: The only Sherwani-clad lawyer in the Supreme Court corridors, he’s seen as the “only one” who can always manage making “holes in the prosecution”.

His clientele – Parliament attacker Mohammed Afzal guru, 2G accused A Raja and Kanimozhi, CWG scam accused Suresh Kalmadi, terrorist Abdul Naseer Maurany and murder-convicted restaurateur P Rajagopal.

“When it comes to final arguments on merits, one needs Kumar to get an acquittal”, claim juniors. [India Today]

19 January 2012

Scenes from Tuesday's dramatic GBM (Photo: @DKMahant)Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president PH Parekh said today that he would continue in office because yesterday’s executive committee meeting, which accepted his verbal resignation and expelled three other members after Tuesday’s chaotic general meeting, was invalid because it was not quorate.

16 January 2012

image Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president PH Parekh has verbally resigned over the ‘one bar one vote’ controversy in a packed SCBA meeting held in Supreme Court lawns this afternoon, according to authoritative sources.

30 November 2011

LawyersCollective_IndiraJaisingSupreme Court Insider: Verbal explosives were hurled across the aisle during the Sohrabuddin fake encounter hearing in the Supreme Court of India today between additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium.

17 November 2011

Cross-ex recipe: Legally India bumped into senior counsel and BJP parliamentarian Ram Jethmalani on 5 November, relaxing on a grassy lawn of Goa’s Grand Hyatt hotel on the fringes of Tehelka’s Thinkfest, where he was a speaker.

We asked the undisputed champion of cross-examination for a master class in the subject, covering Oscar Wilde, the Bible and being a hermit in preparation. We also wondered whether politicians cared about legal sector liberalisation at all.

13 May 2011

Breaking: Senior advocate and outgoing Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Ram Jethmalani has lodged a written complaint about yesterday’s election alleging it was carried out improperly and marred by “corruption”.

The now five-time winner of the SCBA presidency PH Parekh has rejected Jethmalani’s arguments as motivated by his election loss.

12 May 2011

Delhi-Supreme-Court Exclusive: Pravin Parekh has won the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) election, defeating former vice chairman Adish Aggarwala by a margin of only two votes, also leaving behind the incumbent Ram Jethmalani.

20 January 2011

rupees-stack Exclusive: Senior advocate Anil Divan, whose public interest litigation (PIL) with Ram Jethmalani and others over the problem of black money stashed abroad, has slammed the government for equating the problem to mere tax evasion while commenting on the future of the case concerning up to Rs 70 lakh crore ($1.4trn) of wealth that is believed to be parked by Indians in foreign banks and tax havens.

29 December 2010

Senior advocate and BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) leader Ram Jethmalani and senior congress leader Digvijay Singhhas have offered to defend activist medical doctor Binayak Sen who was recently convicted of sedition against the Chhattisgarh state and sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court there.

08 June 2010

Ram_JethmalaniThe 86-year-old senior advocate and politician Ram Jethmalani is a living legend of the criminal bar that is unlikely to ever fade quietly into the background. Despite his self-proclaimed desperation to retire he was recently instructed to co-defend former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, fought for Anil Ambani against his estranged brother in the Supreme Court and won the presidential election to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), vowing to clean up the tainted body.

Unafraid of controversy, Jethmalani remains as outspoken as ever and Legally India talks to him about the practice of law, why he thinks that foreign law firms would benefit Indian lawyers, how a bar exam is not necessary and how the corruption, backlog of cases and decline of the legal profession are squarely the government's fault.