Chandigarh: Veteran senator and Panjab University (PU) syndicate
member Gopal Krishan Chatrath passed away on Friday morning after battling ill-health for the last few months. The varsity declared a holiday on Friday in the memory of the 83-year-old academician.
Chatrath was the former advocate general of Punjab and was elected to the state assembly in 1980 from Batala. He was currently heading the disciplinary committee of Punjab Congress.
Chatrath began his stint with the PU senate in 1972 and remained a member for 11 consecutive terms. The group led by him dominated the PU syndicate and senate for decades.
A number of dignitaries including PU vice- chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover, Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, Justice AG Masih, Justice Ritu Bahri , Justice Daya Chaudhar and Justice SS Saron visited his house in Sector 15 to offer their tributes.
Commenting on Chatrath's personality, V-C Grover said, "Of all the stalwarts who have adorned the Panjab University and made it what it is today, Chatrath sahib would indeed be remembered as one of the most influential figures."
Grover added "Whether he was working as an organiser of students, an organiser of employees or a spokesperson of teachers, his commitment never waned, his passion never abated, his voice never got dimmed. The number of vice- chancellors he advised, counselled and guided on an almost daily basis would be difficult to count."
PU also organised a condolence meeting on Friday which was attended by high-rank PU officials, senators and teachers. PU Registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) also paid respect to Chatrath during the meeting.
According to former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Chatrath's demise had created a void which would be difficult to fill. "I was associated with him for 40 years. He was like an elder brother to me and an institution in himself. A big void is created in society with his death."
Senator Ashok Goyal said, "It is a great loss to society in general and PU varsity in particular. We have lost a seasoned politician, academician, legal luminary and above all a great human being."
High court lawyers pay respect
The lawyers at Punjab and Haryana high court also paid respect to Chatrath by abstaining from work post lunch hours on Friday. The decision to abstain from the work was taken in a condolence meeting of executive committee of the Bar association. Chatrath, a senior advocate was also the president of the Bar association in 2002-03.
" It is a great loss for the legal fraternity. He was a sagacious Bar leader. He would be remembered for his contribution at the Panjab University as dean and his work for the betterment of legal fraternity at Bar," Bar association president, HS Brar said.