ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Remembering Justice P N Bhagwati

Justice P N Bhagwati’s efforts to address the rights of prisoners, bonded labour, child labour, conditions of inmates of various asylums, the right of the poor to education, shelter and other essential amenities, and protecting and improving the environment with an additional emphasis on social justice continue to influence the legal minds of the country.

Justice P N Bhagwati—the former Chief Justice of India who died on 15 June 2017—was one of the leading jurists of India and the longest serving judges of the Supreme Court from 1973–86. He along with Justice V R Krishna Iyer introduced the public interest litigation (PIL) to help the poor and marginalised sections of the society, and expanded its application to embrace social and environmental justice questions. Justice Bhagwati was a great reader and had an excellent command over international laws and principles. He commanded attention from his fellow judges, and gained credibility from his clear thinking and grasp of detail and facts. He always preferred to write his own judgment and rarely dictated.

Born in Gujarat in 1921 as the son of the former Justice Natwarlal H Bhagwati of the Supreme Court, Justice Bhagwati graduated as a mathematician from Elphinstone College, Mumbai. Later, he completed his degree in law from the Government Law College, Mumbai. He started practising at the High Court of Bombay in 1948. He became a judge of the Gujarat High Court in 1960 and then became the Chief Justice of Gujarat in 1967. He was elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge in 1973, and subsequently, became the Chief Justice of India from 12 July 1985 to 20 December 1986.

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Updated On : 28th Jul, 2017
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