Feb. 1, 2023
With profound grief, the All India Council (AIC) of Lok Raj Sangathan announces the passing away of veteran lawyer Shri Shanti Bhushan on January 31, 2023 after a brief illness. He was 97 years of age.
Shri Shanti Bhushan was a man who stood by his convictions. He was never afraid of challenging those in power, if he felt that they were wrong. On June 12, 1975, the Allahabad High Court declared the election of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi null and void, upholding that she had indulged in corrupt election practices during the 1971 General Elections. Shri Shanti Bhushan was the lawyer who successfully argued this case, leading to the conviction of Mrs. Gandhi.
As law minister in the Janata Party government during 1977-1979, Shri Shanti Bhushan proposed that the right to referendum be introduced into the Constitution, so that people could decide through referendums, on major policy decisions and changes in the Constitution. This proposal was rejected by the then government.
Shanti Bhushan was an indefatigable fighter for human, democratic and national rights. He was a resolute opponent of state terrorism, including state-organised communal violence. He courageously defended the victims of state terrorism in the courts. He was not afraid to voice his convictions in the face of a hostile state. He argued for a referendum in Kashmir, upholding the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination.
Shri Shanti Bhushan was deeply concerned that the institutions of the state were not accountable to the people. He was a founder of the Committee for Judicial Accountability and Reform, which has been engaging people in discussion on what needs to be done to ensure that the judiciary is accountable to the people.
Shri Shanti Bhushan fought with the conviction that sovereignty must vest with the people. He enthusiastically participated in the work of Lok Raj Sangathan. He was always punctual in attending meetings.
We will always cherish the memory of this warm personality, who radiated optimism with his words. The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan deeply mourns the passing away of this valiant fighter for people’s empowerment. The AIC of Lok Raj Sangathan extends heartfelt condolences to the family of Shri Shanti Bhushan on this great loss.
President, Lok Raj Sangathan