Senior Supreme Court lawyer Pavani Parameswara Rao passed away on 13 September 2017 after suffering a cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was 84.
Widely considered a doyen of Constitutional Law, Rao argued a number of landmark cases before the Supreme Court. He had helped develop the argument against the legal challenge to President’s Rule in four Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, after demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
About Pavani Parameswara Rao
• Born on 1 July 1933, Rao obtained his bachelor’s degree from V.R. College, Nellore, Andhra University and his LL.B. and LL.M. from Osmania University, Hyderabad.
• He started his career teaching law in the University of Delhi in 1961.
• He was enrolled as an Advocate by the Bar Council of Delhi in 1967 and thereafter started practice in the Supreme Court.
• He served as an Advocate-on-Record for the State of Andhra Pradesh and a Junior Standing Counsel for the Union Government before he was designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court in August 1976.
• Soon after demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, President's Rule was imposed in the four BJP-ruled states, viz., Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. When these proclamations were challenged in the Supreme Court by eminent lawyers, Rao defended the Proclamations representing the States of Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh which were then under President's Rule.
• He conceived, developed and presented the argument based on secularism which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and convinced the Court that all the four BJP Governments had acted in concert and violated the basic feature of secularism by mobilising, encouraging and supporting the Kar Sevaks who demolished Babri Masjid. The Supreme Court upheld all the four Proclamations without any dissent only on this ground.
• He was elected the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association in 1991.
• In 2006, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan.
• On 4 March 2010, he was awarded an LL.D. (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his eminence and contributions to the cause of public interest.
When: 13 September 2017