ICJ mourns the loss of Justice P.N. Bhagwati

Justice Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati, former ICJ Commissioner and Honorary Member and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, passed away at the age of 95, on 15 June 2017, following a brief illness.

“The International Commission of Jurists benefited greatly from Justice Bhagwati’s engagement and leadership. He was a giant of the human rights movement, dedicated to enlarging and ensuring access to justice for everyone, including those who couldn’t seek and receive justice due to their economic or social status,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Secretary-General.

“His dedication and ground-breaking approach to human rights accountability inspired many within and outside of the ICJ, and the values he represented will continue to inspire and inform our work,” he added.

Justice Bhagwati had a long history of promoting and protecting human rights, both at home and on the international stage, particularly for the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals and groups.

Former Chief Justice of India, Justice P.N. Bhagwati held a long and illustrious career within the Indian judiciary.

He introduced many innovative reforms within the Indian judicial system that increased access to justice for the poorest and most disadvantaged, including as a pioneer of public interest litigation and absolute liability.

Outside of India, Justice P.N. Bhagwati played a prominent role in the international human rights movement, for example as a member of the Committee of Experts of the International Labour Organization and Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

He was also actively involved in a number of non-governmental organizations, including the ICJ, where he committed to a high number of missions, seminars, publications and other activities on behalf of the organization.

He also served as a long-standing Chair of the Advisory Board for the ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

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