Nani Palkhivala, The Legendary Lawyer Who Saved Our Democracy

M's blog

In his treatise on political theory ‘Hind Swaraj’, Mahatma Gandhi heavily criticised lawyers for being instruments of British colonial rule and sucking the lifeblood of the poor.

A strange criticism considering Gandhi was once a lawyer and built his credentials on the basis of not just original political ideas, but also a real understanding of British colonial law.

“The lawyers… will, as a rule, advance quarrels, instead of repressing them… It is within my knowledge that they are glad when men have disputes. Petty pleaders actually manufacture them. Their touts, like so many leeches, suck the blood of the poor people,” he wrote.

In no way does this description apply to Nanabhoy “Nani” Ardeshir Palkhivala, the legendary 20th-century jurist and self-taught economist.

Palkhivala fought some of the most crucial battles in Indian constitutional history defending among other things the Fundamental Rights of ordinary citizens.

“Political freedom and civil liberty are…

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