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Former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer passes away at 100

Justice V R Krishna Iyer: Photo by Bharat S. Raj/en.wikipedia.org
Justice V R Krishna Iyer: Photo by Bharat S. Raj/en.wikipedia.org
Eminent jurist and former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, who had a well-earned reputation for speaking out his mind fearlessly on national issues and on human rights, passed away at a private hospital here today, less than three weeks after he turned 100.
 
He is survived by two sons. His wife had predeceased him. 
 
He breathed his last around 3.30 pm today at the Medical Trust Hospital here following renal and cardiac failure, hospital sources said. He had been admitted to the hospital on November 24 evening.
 
The body was placed in a public area of the hospital for some time today to enable people to pay their last respects before it was taken to his residence here. His body will be placed in the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here tomorrow morning to enable his admirers to pay their last respects before the funeral is held tomorrow evening.
 
Vaidyanathapura Rama Krishna Iyer was born on November 15, 2014 to a Tamil Brahmin family at Thalassery near Palakkad in the Malabar region of Kerala. He studied at the Basel Mission School in Thalassery and later at the Victoria College in Palakkad, the Annamalai University and the Madras Law College. 
 
He started legal practice in 1937 under his father, V V Rama Ayyar, an eminent criminal lawyer, in Thalassery and appeared in many cases for workers and peasants in the early part of his career.
 
He was elected in 1952 to the Kerala Legislative Assembly and served as a Minister for Law, Power, Prisons, Irrigation and Social Welfare from 1957 to 1959 in the E. M. S. Namboodiripad government and earned a name for bringing out many changes in these sectors.
 
He served as a judge in the Kerala High Court from 1968-71 and as a member of the Law Commission from 1971-73. He was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court on July 17, 1973 and retired on November 14, 1980.
 
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He was honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian honour, in 1999.
 
Throughout his career and long after retirement, Justice Iyer was an outspoken person who was always ready to take up any cause that he found worthy of his support, especially matters related to human rights.
 
He wrote about 70 books, mainly on legal topics. He also wrote some travelogues and an autobiography, Wandering in Many Worlds. He also received many prestigious awards.
 
Some of the important judgements he delivered as a judge of the Supreme Court incuded the Shamsher Singh case on the powers of the President and the Cabinet, the Maneka Gandhi case which added a new dimension to Article 21 of the Constitution and the Muthamma case. He attracted criticisim when, as a vacation judge, he granted a conditional stay on the Allahabad High Court verdict declaring then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's election to the Lok Sabha void.
 
Mr Justice Iyer had contested the Presidential election against the Congress candidate and eventual winner R Venkataraman in teh Presidential election in 1987.
 
As he continued to remain actively involved in social activities and political life after his retirement, his 100th birthday was celebrated here last month with several programmes organised by various organisations.
 
NNN
 
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