The God’s Advocate : Kesava Parasaran, The man who defended Lord Rama

Senior Supreme Court lawyer and former Attorney General of India K Parasaran, who successfully fought the Ayodhya land dispute case for the Hindu parties, has been named as the first trustee of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust which was approved by the Union Cabinet Wednesday.

The 92-year-old will also host the trust’s registered office at his R-20, Greater Kailash Part-1 residence in New Delhi.

Born in Tamil Nadu’s Srirangam in 1927, Parasaran’s comes from a religious Hindu background. His father Kesava Aiyengar, also a lawyer, was a Vedic scholar. Parasaran’s three sons, Mohan, Satish and Balaji, are also lawyers. Mohan Parasaran briefly served as Solicitor General in the UPA-2 regime. The family’s fourth generation has also joined the Bar.

Parasaran started his practice before the Supreme Court in 1958. During the Emergency, he was Advocate General of Tamil Nadu and in 1980 was appointed Solicitor General of India. He served as the Attorney General of India from 1983 to 1989.

The God’s Advocate : Kesava Parasaran

He also appeared for the Nair Service Society to defend the ban on the entry of menstruating women in the Aiyappa temple in the Sabarimala case. However, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court decided against his arguments and allowed the entry of women.

His courtroom orations are often lectures in Hindu scriptures. So much so, that Supreme Court judge and former Chief Justice of Madras High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul referred him as the “Pitamah of Indian Bar for his contribution to the law without compromising with his dharma”.

Politically, Parasaran has been sought after by almost every administration since the 1970s. Despite this, he did not shy away from disagreeing with the political leadership. In 1985, as Solicitor General of India, he advised the government to not act on the show-cause notice issued to demolish the Indian Express building as it was legally untenable.

However, when the Indira Gandhi government ignored his opinion, he refused to defend the government in court and offered to resign if he was forced to appear. The government, despite his public statement, not only kept him in office but promoted him as Attorney General of India in two months.

During the NDA tenure of 1999-2004, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed him as member of the drafting and editorial committee tasked with reviewing the working of the Constitution. The erstwhile government also awarded him the Padma Bhushan. The successive UPA-1 government awarded him the Padma Vibhushan and nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.

Since 2016, Parasaran’s appearances in court have been rare. He has only picked two cases after that – the Sabarimala case and the Ayodhya dispute.

He is also related to actor Kamal Haasan. Parasaran’s wife Saroja is the first cousin of Haasan.

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