Eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee passed away this morning after a battle with Covid-19. The 91-year-old former Attorney General was being treated in a private hospital in South Delhi.
A few days ago, speaking to The Probe, Soli Sorabjee had said, “Independent media is essential. If you are not independent, your soul is sold and if you sell your soul, you sell the soul of democracy in India”.
A doyen among legal luminaries, Soli Jehangir Sorabjee was born in 1930. He began his legal career in 1953 at the Bombay High Court. Since then he has spearheaded some of India’s most noteworthy cases.
When our team had met him a few weeks ago at his residence in Neeti Bagh in New Delhi, he continued to stress upon the importance of the role that the media is expected to play in India. He said, “Independent Journalism is really meant to hold people in power to account and to reveal facts that make people aware of what’s happening around them and thereafter take action against them based on the facts. Independent Journalism is essential to democracy. Without Independent Journalism, democracy is zero”.
In 2002, Sorabjee was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award for his defence of freedom of expression and human rights. He was known for bringing his heart and mind to his work. He worked tirelessly for the Sikh community pro bono after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which won him international acclaim.
Sorabjee was also a champion of press freedom and freedom of speech. A few days before the launch of The Probe, he asked our team of reporters to be brave and unyielding to corporate, political or commercial pressures. “Be brave! Don’t cave into any political or commercial influence or any other influence that will be exercised on you by entities who would want to influence your Journalism through their money power,” he said.
Overwhelmed by the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, he himself went ahead and filed a PIL in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre for equipping and training our police force to tackle terrorist attacks. Sorabjee will always be remembered for his contributions to the field of constitutional law and human rights. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.
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