I lost yet another comrade at the Bar. Starting my practice in the chamber of RK Garg, I felt orphaned when he passed away. The passing of Govind Mukoti took away another progressive member of the Bar. RK Jain, a chamber mate, at the chamber of RK Garg also passed on, and now comes the news of the loss of another friend in the same tradition, Amarendra Sharan.
Maybe it is the era which is passing. Maybe the likes of us who considered ourselves committed to the constitutional values have become dinosaurs. But I will continue to miss each one of them since they demonstrated their commitment to constitutional values in action and their professional life.
He was fond of good food and we shared fish curry and rice (which of course I did not eat being a vegetarian) at 28 Canning Lane when I was Additional Solicitor General (ASG). He loved good food and Anand loves cooking and feeding people. We spent hours laughing together in the corridors of the Supreme Court but we also spent hours debating the rot in the legal system. And I would reprimand him for not doing enough and kept pushing him to do more. He would agree with me that the system has degenerated but would tell me that there was nothing we could do to stop the rot, the forces against us are too strong. I told him that in my opinion, he was a cynic, we could not give up so easily. He would laugh and move on as if he knew something I did not know.
Strangely even the late RK Jain, a very popular one time president of SCBA also advised me to not get involved in the fight against injustice in the Supreme Court of India, or in any event to take it lightly and not allow it to affect me personally as it surely does. In this, I felt they were both giving me similar advice, and I had told both of them that their approach was cynical.
Whether or not Amarendra Sharan was cynic or just a practical human being who knew the limits of realm of the possible, I would now never know. Each time we met, we put that discussion on hold and promise each other we would meet again and discuss it at length. Given the hustle and bustle of daily life that meeting never happened. Nevertheless, we observed each other in the courtroom from a distance and took pride in each other’s work. His wife Madhu remained present in court on every date of hearing when I was arguing Triple Talaq and Sabrimala cases, to listen to me.
Too many professionals of integrity have left us. And Sharan left us at a very difficult juncture in the history of our country. He was there for every human right defender who was harassed by an overzealous executive. I will miss his communications with me from across the courtrooms without words being exchanged, I will miss his childlike smile. I will miss him.
But before going, he gave Anand and me and The Lawyers Collective and the legal profession a gift. He and his wife Madhu Sharan defended the Lawyers Collective, Anand Grover and me, by signing an appeal to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that CBI raids against us be condemned. He and Madhu both took the lead in the matter of convincing the SCBA that the matter was of great public importance to all practicing lawyers, and to pass a resolution condemning raids by the CBI in the officers of lawyers.
He was not a cynic after all.