Justice Chandrachud also said that during the emergency, Sorabjee stepped into the field of public law and secured the rights of numerous citizens who were suffering due to State excesses.

Eminent jurist, late Soli Sorabjee did not pledge his loyalty to the government of the day while serving as the Attorney General for India (AG), Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud said on Monday.

The Chief Justice of India designate was addressing a gathering at the book release of “Soli Sorabjee – A Great Maestro” by V Sudhish Pai when he recalled Sorabjee’s loyalty to the Constitution.

“While serving as the Attorney General, he did not pledge his loyalty to the government of the day. Soli might have declined the offer of judgeship, he was deeply concerned with the justice delivery system,” Justice Chandrachud said.

He also recounted how the Sorabjee had opposed the imposition of national emergency in 1975.

Soli, on the imposition of emergency which he strongly opposed, stepped into the field of public law and secured the rights of numerous citizens who were suffering due to state excess,” recalled Justice Chandrachud.

He added that on declaration of emergency, Sorabjee realised that the power of executive heads was often used to distort constitutional order and challenged the notion that the exercise of power by the executive head is beyond the scope of judicial review.

Soli interloped the basic principle of administrative law that no authority holds unbridled discretion to challenge the actions of the executive head.”

Further, Justice Chandrachud added that Sorabjee’s contribution to the judicial review on State action was particularly significant and deserved mention.

Through his arguments, he spearheaded the integration of the principles of administrative law to Constitutional interpretation. Soli’s was an important voice in the Constitutionalisation of Indian administrative law.

The judge also highlighted Sorabjee’s deep concern and commitment to improve the justice delivery system.

He was a fierce proponent of judicial reform, which extended beyond seeking better financial conditions for judges,” Justice Chandrachud explained.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit, who was also present at the event, recounted his expereince working in the chambers of late Sorabjee as a junior lawyer.

We considered ourselves privileged as we could see a superlative mind working on legal problems. Hats off to my former senior. It is a very joyous moment for me to be a part of the celebration.”

Former CJI MN Venkatachaliah also echoed similar sentiments, stating that Sorabjee was a sound and distinguished lawyer.

Current AG R Venkataramani and former AG KK Venugopal also spoke of the many facets of Sorabjee as a lawyer.

He showed tolerance in a multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. I always admired that. He will always have a place in our hearts,” Venugopal said.

Senior Advocate and eminent jurist Fali S Nariman, while speaking at the event, shared his grief at the loss of a dear friend in Sorabjee.

My deep regret at losing my friend is that there’s no one left from that chamber that I can continue to reminisce with,” he said..

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