Judicial Reforms

Notable Jurist Fali S Nariman Passes Away at 95


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Fali S Nariman and his notable cases

Mains level: NA



  • Fali S. Nariman, an eminent jurist and Senior Advocate, left an indelible mark on India’s legal landscape over his illustrious 75-year career.
  • Representing clients in a multitude of landmark cases, his contributions reshaped constitutional jurisprudence and safeguarded democratic principles.

Legacy in Indian Jurisprudence

[1] Upholding Judicial Independence: The Second Judges Case

  • Legal Battle: Advocating before the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India (1981), Nariman challenged the interpretation of “consultation” in judicial appointments, emphasizing its binding nature to preserve judicial autonomy.
  • Judicial Triumph: Nariman’s advocacy led to the establishment of the Supreme Court Collegium, ensuring transparent and independent judicial appointments, a landmark decision that endures to this day.

[2] Clarifying Judicial Procedures: The Third Judges Case

  • Presidential Reference: Nariman contributed to the Supreme Court’s deliberations in Special Reference 1 (1998), facilitating a structured consultative process for judicial appointments, reinforcing the judiciary’s collective responsibility.
  • Expanded Collegium: His efforts expanded the scope of judicial consultation, enhancing transparency and accountability in the appointment process.

[3] Protecting Judicial Independence: National Judicial Appointments Commission Case

  • Challenging Executive Interference: In Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India, Nariman vehemently opposed the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014, safeguarding judicial autonomy against executive overreach.
  • Triumph for Collegium System: His advocacy contributed to the reinstatement of the collegium system, preserving the judiciary’s prerogative in judicial appointments.

[4] Championing Fundamental Rights: Golak Nath v. State of Punjab Case

  • Constitutional Challenge: Nariman’s intervention in Golak Nath v. State of Punjab (1967) underscored Parliament’s limitations in amending fundamental rights, reinforcing the sanctity of constitutional provisions.
  • Protecting Liberties: His advocacy upheld the inviolability of fundamental rights, ensuring the primacy of constitutional principles.

[5] Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India (1989)

  • Navigating Tragedy: Nariman’s representation of Union Carbide in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy facilitated a landmark settlement, ensuring timely compensation for victims and environmental remediation.

[6] Safeguarding Minority Rights: TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka

  • Advocating Pluralism: Nariman’s involvement in TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka underscored the constitutional protection of minority rights in education, fostering inclusivity and diversity in the educational landscape.

[7] Upholding Constitutional Norms: Nabam Rebia v. Deputy Speaker

  • Restoring Constitutional Order: Nariman’s intervention in Nabam Rebia v. Deputy Speaker (2016) reaffirmed the constitutional mandate for gubernatorial action, preserving democratic governance and institutional integrity.

[8] Ensuring Legal Fairness: J. Jayalalithaa v. State of Tamil Nadu

  • Securing Justice: Nariman’s successful bail plea for Jayalalithaa exemplified his commitment to due process, ensuring equitable legal treatment for all individuals before the law.

[9] Resolving Inter-State Disputes: State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu

  • Navigating Complexities: Nariman’s representation in the Cauvery water dispute showcased his dedication to resolving interstate conflicts through legal avenues, contributing to the equitable allocation of vital natural resources.


  • Fali S. Nariman’s illustrious legal career stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice, constitutionalism, and the rule of law.
  • His profound influence on Indian jurisprudence reverberates through landmark decisions and enduring legal principles, leaving an indelible mark on the nation’s legal landscape.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2012:

What is the provision to safeguard the autonomy of the Supreme Court of India?

  1. While appointing the Supreme Court Judges, the President of India has to consult the Chief Justice of India.
  2. The Supreme Court Judges can be removed by the Chief Justice of India only.
  3. The salaries of the Judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India to which the legislative does not have to vote.
  4. All appointments of officers and staffs of the Supreme Court of India are made by the Government only after consulting the Chief Justice of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 3 and 4 only
  3. 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Post your answers here.
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