Tribute: Arun Jaitley touched everyone's life in his own special way

Bar & Bench August 25 2019
arun jaitley

Ajay Bhargava

We all will miss you Jaitley Sir. Sir was an icon for us when we were young law students and then when we became young lawyers 20 years ago. In fact the first person I shared the good news that I got enrolled as a lawyer was Sir. He had a big role to play in inspiring me to join law and to actually complete the course and get enrolled. I used to tell Sir that like him I will also join politics one day.

We used to see Sir in Delhi High Court and were amazed as to how a senior advocate can do 25 to 30 matters a day and do all the matters with so much dedication and commitment. Sir used to know every matter and the nuances involved in each case. Sir had a super sharp memory and super level of commitment. I remember we used to go to Delhi High Court just to watch Sir in action. It used to be an awesome experience and huge learning. Sir was a true Rockstar.

I remember how crowds of lawyers used to hang out with Sir in the canteen in the Delhi High Court. It was special. It was a dream in the younger days to get a chance to brief Sir for a matter. I finally got my chance. Sir was so warm and affectionate towards young lawyers. He never made us feel that we are just some bunch of raw juniors who have no idea about the real deal in lawyering (even though this was the fact). Sir was so encouraging during a briefing session. Never made us feel out of sync and never ever pointed out our mistakes before a client but after a conference, he used to tell us where we made a mistake and how to correct it before the court hearing. This is what made Sir such a lovable and wonderful senior advocate for us.

Over the years we got a chance to work more and more with Sir. I recall briefing him in the Birla – Lodha Will related matter and during the conference just out of the blue he said, “Bhargava what is the origin of the tie?”…I was like .. huh? but then, since Sir had asked there must be a reason so I went back to the office and researched the origin of the tie and gave him the information. I still don’t know why he thought of this.

Then Sir became more involved in the political arena holding different portfolios in the cabinet. For us, Sir was always a problem solver. On a personal note loved the way he always greeted my wife Vanita and me - “here come Bhargava and Bhargava”…just hearing this from Sir always made us feel special.

Sir, you have touched everyone’s life in your own special way.

This is to you, Sir … words are failing me now… you were an inspiration, a true guide, an invaluable mentor. It is unimaginable that you are gone … you will always remain in our hearts…. farewell Sir.

Ajay Bhargava is a Partner at Khaitan & Co.

Atul Sharma

The loss of Arun Jaitley is a big loss to the lawyer fraternity of Delhi.  Arun Jaitley’s rise as a lawyer was synonymous with the recognition of Delhi Bar. Notwithstanding Mr. Jaitley's rise as a political leader and later a Minister, every lawyer of his generation took pride in his association with the Bar.

Mr. Jaitley was born to a family of lawyers in the Sadar Bazaar area of Delhi. His father Pandit Maharaj Kishan Jaitley and his uncles were well-respected lawyers in Delhi. He represented the first rebellion by the student community during the 1974 strike at the Delhi University.

It was a first instance where the police was allowed to enter the Delhi University Campus, breaking the tradition and the longest strike in the history of Delhi University. This was his baptism by fire in the world of politics.

Mr. Jaitley started his career practicing in the Delhi High Court as well as subordinate courts. From Standing Counsel of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Tees Hazari to his rise as a fiery Senior Counsel in the Supreme Court, he was solely responsible for bringing the Delhi Bar to the centre stage.

His famous association with the Express Case which was touted as a big fight between establishment and press was a landmark in his legal career. This catapulted him to the league of a Delhi Lawyer who could take up constitutional challenges in the Supreme Court when the Delhi Bar had scant representation in the highest court.

While he was heavily involved in political and big business cases, he did not lose his touch with causes affecting common men. He would always do an odd pro-bono matter notwithstanding his ability to command a high fee.

He was childlike in many ways in his relationships and would always relive every moment of his past relationship. His connect with his roots manifested in his honesty.

In rare meetings with him in the last few years, one could never get the feeling he had attained so much.

His loss will be personal to everyone who knew him.

The Author is a Managing Partner at Link Legal India Law Services