Business Standard

Pioneer of PIL, CJI Bhagwati dead

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Former Chief Justice of P.N. Bhagwati, who introduced (PIL) to the Indian judicial system, passed away here on Thursday, family sources said. He was 95.

"Yes, it is true," said one of his family members told IANS.

Bhagwati was admitted to a Delhi hospital a few days back after a brief illness.

Chief Justice of from July 12, 1985, to December 20, 1986, Bhagwati was born on December 21, 1921, and studied in Bombay. The son of N.H. Bhagwati, who went on to become a Supreme Court judge, he began his law practice at the Bombay High Court and was elevated to the bench of the Gujarat High Court in 1960. He became its Chief Justice in 1967, and a Supreme Court judge in 1973.

As an apex court judge, Bhagwati introduced the concept of PIL and absolute liability to the Indian judicial system, while he was criticised for his judgment in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case (popularly known as the habeas corpus case) where he decreed that during an Emergency, a person's right to not be unlawfully detained can be suspended.

Justice Bhagwati later agreed with popular opinion that this judgement was short-sighted and "apologised" for it.

Justice Bhagwati was also against death sentence. In Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab case, he, in a dissenting judgment, said that death penalty is discriminatory and violation of Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution, as it was invariably against weaker and margiblaised sections of the society.

He said that the death sentence cases should be heard by five judges bench of the apex Court and death sentence should be awarded only when all the judges agree.

Justice Bhagwati was also the propounder of the "polluter pays principle".

Married to Prabhavati Shethji, he has three daughters Parul, Pallavi and Sonali.



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First Published: Thu, June 15 2017. 23:24 IST