Justice P.N.Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India, Padma Vibhushan and the judge who introduced the concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and judicial activism in India has left for heavenly abode. The cremation will be on Saturday at 4PM at Lodhi Road Electric Crematorium.
Justice Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati was born 21.12.1921 in Gujarat. His father was a Supreme Court judge and he himself rose to become the 17th Chief Justice of India, serving from 12.07.1985 until his retirement on 20.12.1986. Bhagwati received his education in Mumbai. He studied at Elphinstone College, taking a Mathematics (Hons.) degree from Bombay University in 1941. He began his career practicing at the Bombay High Court. In July 1960, he was appointed a judge of the Gujarat High Court. In September 1967, he was appointed the Chief Justice of the High Court. On two occasions, he acted (briefly) as Governor of Gujarat. In July 1973, he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. In August 1985, he became the Chief Justice of India.
As a supreme court judge, Bhagwati introduced the concepts of PIL and absolute liability to the Indian judicial system. He is therefore held to have pioneered judicial activism in the country.
During his flawless tenure as a judge, the only black dot is considered to be the controversial judgment in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case (popularly referred to as the ADM Jabalpur case or the habeas corpus case) where he decreed that during Emergency, a person's right to not be unlawfully detained can be suspended. Bhagwati later agreed with popular opinion that this judgement was short-sighted and "apologised" for the same.
Livelaw team expresses deepest regard for the departed soul. May his kind soul rest in peace.