Grand old man of HC passes away
ABDUL MANNAN, the grand old man of the High Court, died at his Malka Kheti Phatak residence on Hewett Road on Saturday evening. He was 68.
On hearing the news, the legal fraternity started flocking to his residence.
Mannan saheb’s legal acumen was widely recognised. He was among the few lawyers whose arguments in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case were appreciated even by the Supreme Court. The then Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma observed: “He remained unruffled even after so many provocations by the lawyers from the other side. His composure was exemplary.”
When Mannan took ill in 1996, Justice Verma, the then sitting CJI and Justice SHA Raza, the then senior judge of the High Court, visited his residence.
Mannan began his legal career in 1961 and gradually came to be recognised as a “lawyer par excellence” in service matters. His humane approach to the profession was apparent as he argued, free of cost, the cases of several State employees, who took part in the famous strike of 1968.
But, that was not his only claim to fame.
“He was a brilliant orator, a great human being, an outstanding legal brain, who guided several young lawyers and someone whose love for the court continued till the last, illness notwithstanding,” said additional solicitor general of India Ashok Nigam, who was among the first to rush to Mannan’s residence on hearing the news.
Senior advocate designate and former president of the High Court-based Awadh Bar Association PN Mathur, too, recalled his association with Mannan. “I knew him for the last 30 years. He was a caring soul who could do anything for his friends, besides being a patriot to the core and a man who never forgot his roots,” he said.
Justice Syed Haider Abbas Raza, the LokAyukta, Uttaranchal, told Hindustan Times on the phone from Dehradun, “I am shocked. We studied together in school. He was a great orator. His oration always got him the first prize in our school and university days.” Justice UC Srivastava, another former senior judge of the High Court, said, “I saw the flame in him when he was arrested under MISA in his university days. He was a voracious reader and his memory was commendable.”
Advocate general of UP SMA Kazmi was on way to Allahabad when he received the news. He told HT on the phone, “I am shocked and speechless. Mannan saheb had an aura of affection and deep love for everybody around him. For me, his affection was infectious.”
Nothing could sum up the mood better than a couplet that Kazmi recited: “Na haath thaam sake na pakad sake daman, bade kareeb se uth kar chala gaya koi (We could neither hold his hands, nor could we plead with him to stay; he who was so close to us has gone away).”
The burial will take place at Nadwa at 10 am on Sunday.