Fali S. Nariman: A Tribute to an Eminent Jurist and Senior Advocate

Fali S. Nariman

Fali S. Nariman: A Tribute to an Eminent Jurist and Senior Advocate

Fali S. Nariman, born on January 10, 1929, was a towering figure in the legal landscape of India. His career spanned several decades, during which he made significant contributions to the field of law and justice. Nariman’s life and work are a testament to his unwavering commitment to the principles of justice, fairness, and integrity.

Early Life and Education

Fali Sam Nariman was born in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar), into a Parsi family. His father, Sorab Nariman, was a well-known lawyer. Nariman’s early years were marked by the influence of his father, who instilled in him a deep respect for the law and a sense of duty towards society.

Nariman completed his schooling in Bombay (now Mumbai) and went on to study at St. Xavier’s College. He then pursued a degree in law from Government Law College, Mumbai. His academic achievements were remarkable, and he quickly established himself as a brilliant legal mind.


Nariman’s career in law began in the early 1950s when he started practicing at the Bombay High Court. His sharp intellect and keen understanding of the law soon earned him a reputation as a formidable advocate. Over the years, Nariman appeared in numerous landmark cases, both in India and abroad, and his arguments were widely admired for their clarity and persuasiveness.

In 1975, Nariman was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General of India, a position he held until 1977. During his tenure, he represented the government in several high-profile cases and played a key role in shaping legal policy.

Nariman’s most significant contribution, however, came in 1975 when he resigned from his post in protest against the declaration of emergency by the Indira Gandhi government. His decision to stand up for his principles, even at great personal cost, was a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice and democracy.

Personal Life and Death

Nariman was known not only for his legal acumen but also for his integrity and humility. Despite his many achievements, he remained a humble and down-to-earth individual, respected by colleagues and opponents alike.

Nariman passed away on February 21, 2024, at the age of 95. His death was mourned by the legal community and the nation as a whole, who recognized him as a true champion of justice and fairness.

Awards and Honors

Throughout his career, Nariman received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the field of law. In 1991, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in recognition of his exceptional service to the nation. In 2007, he was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India, for his outstanding contribution to the legal field.

In 2002, Nariman was awarded the prestigious Gruber Prize for Justice, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the cause of justice and human rights.

Political Role

Nariman was also actively involved in politics and public life. He served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament, from 1999 to 2005. During his tenure, he contributed to several important debates and discussions, using his legal expertise to help shape public policy.

Notable Actions

One of Nariman’s most notable actions was his decision to resign as the Additional Solicitor General of India in protest against the declaration of emergency in 1975. This courageous act earned him widespread admiration and cemented his reputation as a man of principle and integrity.

Authored Books

Nariman was also a prolific writer and author. His autobiography, “Before Memory Fades,” is a candid account of his life and career, offering valuable insights into the legal profession and the challenges of upholding justice in a complex society. He was also the author of several other books, including “God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court” and “The State of the Nation,” which are widely regarded as seminal works in the field of law and politics.


Fali S. Nariman’s legacy is one of courage, integrity, and unwavering commitment to justice. Throughout his career, he remained true to his principles, never wavering in his pursuit of truth and fairness. His contributions to the field of law and justice will be remembered for generations to come, inspiring future generations of lawyers and advocates to uphold the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

In conclusion, Fali S. Nariman was not just a legal luminary but also a role model and a source of inspiration for all those who believe in the power of the law to uphold justice and fairness. His life and work are a testament to the enduring values of integrity, courage, and commitment to the cause of justice.

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