Remembering Fali S Nariman: A Look at 9 Landmark Cases       

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February 21, 2024

Remembering Fali S Nariman: A Look at 9 Landmark Cases       

Fali S Nariman, a revered jurist and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, passed away at the age of 95 on February 21. His illustrious legal career spanning over 75 years was marked by his involvement in several pivotal cases that shaped Indian constitutional law. Here’s a retrospective on some of these notable cases:

  1. The Second Judges Case: Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India
  • In 1981, Nariman played a significant role in shaping the process of judicial appointments by advocating for the establishment of the Supreme Court Collegium. This pivotal case redefined the dynamics between the executive and judiciary in appointing and transferring judges.
  1. The Third Judges Case: In re: Special Reference 1
  • Nariman’s contributions extended to clarifying the procedure for judicial appointments in response to a reference from the President of India. His submissions helped in expanding the size of the Supreme Court Collegium, ensuring broader consultations in judicial appointments.
  1. National Judicial Appointments Commission case: Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India
  • In this case, Nariman successfully argued against the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the judiciary’s independence. His efforts led to the reinstatement of the collegium system for judge appointments.
  1. Parliament cannot curtail fundamental rights: I.C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab
  • Nariman’s advocacy in this case reinforced the sanctity of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, highlighting the limitations on Parliament’s power to amend laws affecting fundamental rights.
  1. Bhopal gas tragedy: Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India (1989)
  • In one of the most tragic industrial disasters in India, Nariman represented Union Carbide, facilitating a settlement for compensation to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, thereby addressing a grave humanitarian crisis.
  1. Rights of minorities to establish and administer education institutions: TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka
  • Nariman’s involvement in this case underscored the importance of minority rights in education, ensuring that regulations uphold the autonomy of minority-run educational institutions.
  1. Governor to act only upon the aid and advice of the council of ministers, chief minister: Nabam Rebia, and Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker
  • Nariman’s legal acumen helped resolve a political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh by upholding constitutional principles regarding the powers of the governor and the council of ministers.
  1. Obtaining bail for former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha: J. Jayalalithaa v. State of Tamil Nadu
  • In a high-profile case, Nariman secured bail for Jayalalitha, demonstrating his adeptness in navigating complex legal matters and ensuring justice is served.
  1. Cauvery Water Dispute: State of Karnataka v State of Tamil Nadu
  • Nariman’s longstanding involvement in the Cauvery water dispute exemplified his commitment to advocating for his clients while upholding legal integrity. His principled stance influenced the court’s decisions, ensuring equitable resolutions.

In conclusion, Fali S Nariman’s legacy as a legal luminary will endure through his profound impact on Indian jurisprudence and his unwavering commitment to justice and constitutional principles.

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Remembering Fali S Nariman: A Look at 9 Landmark Cases | Vaid ICS Institute