Has Ram Jethmalani Passed His “Shelf Life”? Is He Just A Liability Or An Asset For The Country? - ED | The Youth Blog | ED | The Youth Blog Has Ram Jethmalani Passed His “Shelf Life”? Is He Just A Liability Or An Asset For The Country? - ED | The Youth Blog
  • Check out our new reading mode

    Has Ram Jethmalani Passed His “Shelf Life”? Is He Just A Liability Or An Asset For The Country?


    May 27, 2016

    “I’m 93 years old and I can die any day but I assure that it will not happen before I get you justice from the Supreme Court.”

    It can explicitly be inferred from the above lines the kind of gusto and passion the senior maverick advocate of  The Supreme Court of India, Mr. Ram Boolchand Jathmalani holds in him.

    ram jethmalani

    Mr. Jethmalani (born 23 September 1923) is arguably the best veteran criminal lawyer in the country, former Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and an eminent professor of law. He has served as India’s Union Law Minister and Chairman of Bar Council of India. Adding more adjectives, a flamboyant, shrewd and contentious person who has not mortgaged his soul or intelligence to anybody but his own conscious.

    When in legal trouble, remember Jethmalani.

    We all will agree with Mark Twin when he says “Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter”. The above proverb best personifies Mr. Ram Jethmalani who has been an active citizen even during his late times. But my question is- why not? Why should “Age” be the bar for labelling someone as obsolete or determining his proficiency? Jethmalani has proven that he can never pass his “Shelf Life” by not just one instance but many. Some of them are listed below-

    1. He is the highest paid Lawyer in the country. However, interestingly he has fought 90% of his cases free of cost, which includes his free services to the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in it’s case for restoration of the varsity’s minority status which is pending before the Supreme Court. Purely in nation’s interest.

    2. He filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to establish a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for taking steps to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks. Which unambiguously shows his active participation in public interest.

    3. He assured his support to the ex-servicemen demanding “complete implementation” of ‘One Rank One Pension’ and promised that he will lead their legal battle in the top court without charging any fees.

    4. Mr. Jethmalani, who was expelled from BJP in 2013, for accusing it of being “silent against high corruption” is quite vocal about his non intersecting ideologies with the BJP. His disappointment with the current government is evident from his open statements in which he mentions that he wants nothing from Prime Minister Modi but to fulfil the promise that he has made to the poor people of India.

    5. From statements about Parliament and it’s “non-sovereign” nature to why the judges of Supreme Court of India or even the High Court judges can never be called “unelected”, Jethmalani has never missed any opportunity to enlighten people with his legal knowledge.

    6. He is a defender of democracy. “The institution of Parliament is suffering total loss of public respect. This does not augur well for Indian democracy,” he said in his letter to Congress president Mrs. Sonia Gandhi while revoking his offer to defend her in the National Herald case.

    These are just handful instances out of many where Mr. Jethmalani has stood for the rights and has shown his concern over the Nation and its citizens.



    From his tabloid image of “smuggler’s lawyer” to his extensive support to the ex-servicemen on the “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) issue, Jethmalani has also been encapsulated in many controversies. His involvement in cases like Asaram Bapu (Sexual harassment Case) and Manu Sharma (Jessica Lal Murder Case) has sparked moral and ethical discourse. To this he says “I decide according to my consciences who to defend. A lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional misconduct.”


    According to me it’s no wrong choosing your duties or your obligations to a profession over the subjective concept of morals and right conduct. Jethmalani has argued for people whose political ideology is vastly different from his own. But how does that matter? Being a lawyer his job is to provide “legal” advice to his clients and not impose his set of “ideologies” on them. He has been accused for taking up controversial cases to attract attention. My question is- Is prioritising your duties towards your profession wrong? Don’t we all strive for recognition and success?

    Ram Jethmalani

    Although Ram Jethmalani is 93 years old, he is still active in politics, human rights issues, and the best lawyer the country has witnessed. He’s an asset to the country and a rebel. According to me he has still not crossed his ‘shelf life’ nor will he ever. Such prodigies do not die even after dying, for they already have a place in history!

    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

    Liked reading this article? Subscribe to us.
    • Pingback: Let's Explore The Intriguing Life Of John F. Kennedy - ED | The Youth Blog | ED | The Youth Blog()

    • aditya besoya

      I guess blogger shud write about ageing politicains who are definitely liability..
      N cause much harm to the public.
      Retirement from politics – will it ever become a thing.

    • sadagopan P


      Respected Sir,

      In our case we had been sending several Grievance petition in
      the matter of sanction of central government liberalized pension to the
      left over 5523 foodtransferee employees of whom only about 2700 are alive
      . The grievance disposal by nodal officer in the Food Department is far
      from satisfactory for obvious reasons and the matter is being allowed
      to linger on and it is for time for your good self to interfere and
      restore the confidence in the pg grievance mechanism of the Central
      Government. Having

      failed to get justice I am perforce to knock at the door of each and
      every Good hear-ted person with the fond hope of getting justice.That was the reason why my exclusive prayer direct to your honor Sir.

      injustice and human right violation has peen inflicted , rather
      perpetrated on the erstwhile employees of the Food Department who were
      transferred en mass to the Food Corporation of India during 1967 when
      5512 employees out of them were singled out and denied pension even
      after the

      IV pay recommendations according to which all
      optees be should be brought to Central Government Pension Scheme with
      from 01/01/1986. It is a fact on record that there are hardly 3037
      employees all
      India still alive now out of 5512 ex Central Government Department of
      Employees as per bio data submitted by FCI as early as during 2007-08
      to the Food Department each day waiting to see our liberalized
      pension order before our demise and as we are struggling to meet our day
      to day
      life became costlier owing to old age medical care. We are employees of
      Government of India Food Department surviving +70age who are denied
      even after recommendations of two Parliament committee on petition of 14
      and 15
      Lok Sabha who had confirmed with records documents,evidence that we were
      wronged and rightly due for pension.

      unhelpful attitude of the Food Department has already invited comments
      in report of the Parliament Committee on petitions (14th Lok Sabha)
      which submitted its recommendations in their 8th report of 25th May 2005
      according to which

      The case of Food transferees is totally unique and different from
      others and these employees were earlier Central Government Employees

      At the time of amendment of FCI Act in 1968 the Minister had assured te
      House that service conditions of the Food Transferees will not be less
      favourable than those of Central Government employees

      iii) The FC Act was amended in 1976/77 to protect Food Transferees interest and to enable them to exercise pension option

      The liberalized pension scheme 1987 based on 4th Central Pay Commission
      was extended to several organisation formed through acts of parliament
      and the same should have beene xtended to Food Transferees by amending
      the FC Act as was done in 1976/77

      v) Administrative reasons assigned like c alculations return of cpf etc cannot overide the principle of justice and fair play.

      Committee concluded that the Government should appreciate the fact that
      the statutory provisions guarnteen certain set of service conditions in
      an act passed by the parliament cannot be ignored totally and the
      exedutive orders issued concerning pay and pension cannot be interpreted
      in a manner that violate the letter and spirit of an Act passed by the
      Parliament. As a follow up Food
      Department had at the fag end of tenure of previous UPA Government was
      to recommend to the Cabinet for amending the Section 12 A of the Food
      Corporations Act 1964 to enable the food transferees to opt for
      pension scheme of the Central Government which was made available to the
      Central Government employees after the IV Pay Commission recommendation.


      election the NDA government saw merit in our case and submitted Cabinet
      Note dated 12/3/15 (reiterating the earlier UPA Cabinet Note dated
      (which could not be implemented due to General Elections then). However
      PMO has returned the Cabinet note and advised the Food Dept
      up with letters dated 9/9/15 18/9/15 for issuing executive order (more
      so when the Pension Ministry’s 1987 circular is already available but
      implemented by the Food Department) in
      consultation Pension Welfare department rather Amendment to 12 A of FCI
      Act for
      delivering quick justice. The Food Department
      sent the file to the Department of Legal deliberately posing the issue
      whether the Food Department has to amend the FCI Act 1964 (meaning
      thereby the PMO has not examined the cabinet note properly ) or issue an

      Executive orders in order to give an option of central pension to the
      retired food tranferees who are under CPF . It is but natural that
      Department of Legal affairs opined that the Food Department can do
      amendment to section 12 A of
      the FCI Act 1964 as required as though the Food Department itself is
      fully competent to issue amendment . When it was already decided by PMO
      issuing executive order the Department had posed question whether Food
      Department should go in for Amendment of FCI Act which is contrary to
      the spirit of PMO directives. In the normal course
      the Food Department ought to have referred the draft executive order as suggested by PMO and Pension department for
      legal vetting.

      the Department of Food had acted smart in its negative interpretation
      to violate the letter and spirit under which the PMO directive was
      issued for issuing executive orders. Therefore Food Department had shown scant regards to PMO directives.


      Food Department now trying to put the blame for the delay on the Finance
      Ministry where as it is on record that the Honorable Finance Minister
      had accorded Finance Department of Expenditure Department approval vide
      its Memorandum No.25(3)/EV/205 dated 30/12/14 as requested by the Food
      Ministry OM No.H-11013/2/2011-FCIII dated 5th November 2014 and in the
      name of finance called for big list of details from the FCI
      Headquarters. The FCI Headquarters have called for details from Zonal
      offices and Regional offices (without collecting details for
      Headquarters staff). The Zonal offices and Regional offices had cooly
      ignored the directives of FCI Headquarters similar to scant regard shown
      by Food Department for the PMO directives. Such is the functioning and
      system working in the Food Department and Food Corporations.

      though the Food Department employees were transferred to the Food
      Corporation of India retrospectively from 1st March 1969 and the option
      were required to be exercised on or before 01/09/1969 this could not be
      done due to physical imposibility since the orders were issued only
      after October 1972 and calling for option became infructuous . It
      deserves to be noted that only to overcome this difficulty Section 4(A)
      to Section 12 A of FCI Act was incorporated through an amendment.
      Accordingly the option exercised by the employees after October 1972 in
      consonance with the provisions of such Section 4(A) to Section 12 A of
      FCI Act was only option and no further option was envisaged or given by
      the employee.

      importantly, the OM dated 01/05/87 issued by the Department of Pension
      and Pensioners welfare clearly laid down that the Food transferees are
      required to be covered automatically under the pension scheme of 1/5/87
      and only those who wish to be covered under CPF scheme had to exercise
      the options in favour of CPF i.e. in the absence of any option, the Food
      Transferees are automatically brought under the scheme. Further the
      aforesaid OM mandated that the administrative ministries should issue
      similar orders in respect of CPF beneficiaries in consultation with the
      Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare, but; the Department of
      Food and Public Distribution did not implement these orders in respect
      of Food Transferees on wrong notion that they had already exercised
      option in favour of CPF which is in contravention of the orders of the
      provision of OM dated 1/5.87.

      is important to note that the very purpose of incorporation of Section
      12 A and Section 4 A to section 12 A of FCI act was only to safeguard
      the service conditions of the Food Transferees of FCI and also to ensure
      that their service conditions would in no way become less favorable
      than their counterparts in the Government Service. However it is seen
      that the same very provisions is sought to be used against the food
      tranferees for denying their dues. Such unhelpful and inhuman attitude
      on the part of Food Department officials has already been commented by
      the Parliament Committee on petitions as already indicated .

      Though it is the policy of the Central Government to simplify procedures to
      cut delays in processing the disbursal of pension and retirement benefits in
      our case the matter is delayed over three decades . Therefore we feel myself pushed out of
      bounds as my pension is delayed or denied just on technicalities though we had
      served the Department of Food and Food Corporation
      of India from
      its inception
      and retired without pension and we have been living without pension
      over decades. we have made umpteen representations through grievance
      portal but have
      been receiving same reply that the Government is considering the
      amendment to
      FCI Act , in consultation with the FCI. There
      suspicion among st a section or our over 70 years old
      plus whose
      number is diminished day by day that there appears to be a hidden agenda
      delay and deny us pension as these people are demising day by day they
      give natural burial to our claim. If that will be the case why not
      Central Government give mercy killing to us instead of showing lip
      sympathy to us? Is it not inhuman to treat the elderly senior citizens
      this Sir?

      The NHRC initiatives in the matter of retrial benefits as a
      human right has been elaborately described in their first edition of
      human rights commission dated 10th December 2014. This book not only
      chronicles the Commissions exposition of retrial benefits as human right
      but also extols its unique undertakings to alleviate the suffering of
      innumerable families as bereft of their rightful dues thus leading the
      nodal agencies of the Indian bureaucratic system towards time deliverance
      of retrial dues and benefits. According to this release , the
      commission in numerous cases has observed that there was inordinate
      delay in the payment of the retirement dues to the employees by the
      authorities. In number of cases payments were made even after a lapse of
      more than three decades that too after the intervention of the
      commission. The perpetrators of these violations came out with untenable
      excuses for non payment of the pension and other retirement benefits to
      the beneficiaries. According to this release the National Human right
      Commission reads the denial of retirement benefits as a violation of the
      right to life and dignity and thus leading the country’s nodal agencies
      in the understanding that pension may be the only source of livelihood
      and means of survival for a family hence non payment of these benefits
      has devastating effects on their lives. If these retirement benefits are
      not made to them the very survival of these retired employees or next
      of kin and /or family members of the deceased employees comes under
      question of blatant violation of their human right. The commissions
      intervention has been endeavored to realize the fundamental objectives
      enshrined in article 21 of the constitution of India. The Pensioners and
      the family of the deceased employee have a right to live with dignity
      and non payment or delayed payment of the pensioner benefits he/they
      get after retirement/death is violation of his/their right to live with
      dignity. The commissions intervention itself in most of the cases
      results in payment of of retrial benefits including pension whereas in
      other cases it esquires into entire matter and recommends payment of the
      dues in addition to compensation for damages to the victim for non
      payment or delayed payment of the dues and recommend disciplinary action
      under section 16 of PHR Act 1993 recommends payment of interest on
      delayed payment

      I submit that land mark judgement delivered by the Supreme Court
      of India has not been taken into account according to which Pension is a right and the payment of it does not depend upon the discretion of the Government. Pension is governed by rules and a Government Servant coming within those rules is entitled to claim pension and the government CANNOT take a plea of financial burden to deny legitimate dues of the pensioners and the Government SHOULD AVOID unwarranted litigation and not to encourage any litigation for the sake of litigation.

      already briefly indicated the 5512 (of whom only about 2700 are alive now ) and their family
      members of the erstwhile food department employees are victim of human
      right violations which is perpetrated and they are demising day by day not cared for.

      In view of foresoing facts, we pray unto thee to kindly be pleased to consider our
      plight and sufferings and use your good offices with a view to expedite
      sanction of our Government pension so that those surviving food transferees
      can see their pension in their life time they mostly
      being senior citizens of 73 years old.

      Yours faithfully,

      P. Sadagopan

      57 New Raju Street, West Mambalam

      Chennai 600033

      Tamilnadu State