Former CJI and pioneer of judicial activism,Justice PN Bhagwati passes away
Former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati died in New Delhi
at the age of 95, after a brief illness.
He was considered a pioneer of judicial activism in the
country for introducing the concept of PILs.
Justice Bhagwati is survived by his wife Prabhavati Bhagwati
and three daughters.
The 17th Chief Justice of India, Bhagwati remained on the
highest judicial post between July 1985 and December 1986.
He was a former Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court and
was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in July 1973.
As a Supreme Court judge, Bhagwati introduced the concepts
of public interest litigation (PIL) and absolute liability to the Indian
As a champion of PILs, he had ruled there was no need for a
person to have any locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to
appear in a court) to knock the doors of a court on the issue of fundamental
He was also instrumental in furthering the cause of
prisoners when he ruled that they too enjoyed fundamental rights.
One of the important judgements pronounced by him was in the
Maneka Gandhi passport impounding case in 1978 in which he elaborated the
concept of right to life, and ruled that a person's movement cannot be
He had ruled that a person had full right to hold a
He was the lone dissenting judge in the Minerva Mill case
who upheld the 42nd Constitution amendment during Emergency. It was struck down
by a majority verdict.
In the Minerva Mills case, the Supreme Court provided key
clarifications on the interpretation of the basic structure doctrine.
The court had ruled that the power of Parliament to amend
the Constitution is limited by the Constitution.