Bidding Adieu to Pt. Parmanand Katara (Senior Advocate Supreme Court)

Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)

1 of 2:

The death of Pandit Parmanand Katara, a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, a few days ago, left me deeply shocked and disturbed eme. I had no close contacts with him. It was, what they say, my only a nodding acquaintance with him. He used to sit on a particular chair in the Library 1 of the Supreme Court of India.
Way back in 1993, we had called meeting in the Press Club of India to discuss the implementation of the Bhachawat Wage Board recommendations for the newspaper employees. We invited Justice K N Singh, who after his retirement as the Chief Justice of India, had assumed the charge of the Chairman of the Law Commission of India and also to Justice Bhachawat, who was then practising in the Supreme Court. Our friend Rakesh Sood suggested that we should also invite an Advocate Parmanand Katara to speak on the occasion. It was then a common friend of ours working with the Indian Express said that ‘don’t mention Katara ji as the Supreme Court lawyer because he travels in the city buses like many of us.’ I then put my foot down to mention his name as the Supreme Court Advocate in the invitation card. In my opening speech also I introduced him like that. It was a misconception, that those who practice in the Supreme Court move only in chauffeur driven cars. I told them a commoner like Pandit Katara can better understand the difficulties of the working class.
He was an egalitarian by nature and practice both. He had filed a PIL for helping the road accident victims and the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling that anybody who gets the injured or wounded person admitted in the Hospital would not be obliged to appear in the court as the witness and no hospital would refuse to admit the accident victim for treatment. This ruling has saved the lives of thousands of persons across the country. Before this judgement private hospitals used to invariably refuse to admit the accident victims and by the time they were taken to the government hospitals, many of them were declared to be brought dead.
Of late, Pandit ji was not keeping good health. Two days before his death he was seen in the Library 1. Many of us had suggested him to take rest at his home. I don’t have any personal evidence though I was told that he was so proficient in Sanskrit that he could even argue his cases in that language, besides English, which, unfortunately, is the language of not only the Supreme Court but almost all courts of Delhi.
We sadly bid adieu to you Pandit ji and pray to God to give you peace and place in His abode.

2 of 2: Shreepal Singh

I had opportunity to know him intimately. He was a thoroughly nice person but had the guts to try to raise himself from an ordinary lawyer to an elite club of snobish senior lawyers of Supreme Court. He was much pooh-poohed by many for his this audacity. He came from an ordinary place – Mathura – of Uttar Pradesh and studied there at ordinary educational institutions. I can say with authority that pandit Parmanand Katara had an understanding of deep philosophical issues (it is not the monopoly reserved for only those who had studied at Oxford university) that only an accomplished intellectual can understand. My this appreciation of his intellectual calibre is based on an incident. I had written a book – The Story of True India – and it was then only in manustript form (this book was later on published and is now available on this website as “Vision Document”). I shared that MS with him and had an enlightening discussion with him. He was able to share his meaningful thoughts with me.

He deserved a salute for his wisdom and courage.

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