Who was Lily Thomas? Supreme Court lawyer whose fight ended reign of convicted politicians in elections

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December 10, 2019 12:13 PM

Lily Thomas was among the very first woman advocates in the country. She is known for filing many public litigation in the Supreme Court and several other courts to seek improvement and changes in existing laws.

Lily Thomas, Lily Thomas passes away Senior Supreme Court lawyer Lily Thomas passes away.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Lily Thomas passed away on Tuesday morning. The noted lawyer breathed her last at a private hospital in Delhi. She was 91.

The renowned lawyer was among the very first woman advocates in the country. She is known for filing many public litigation in the Supreme Court and several other courts to seek improvement and changes in existing laws.

Her first major case was in 1964 when she challenged the Advocate on Record exam. Advocate on Record is an advocate who has passed a qualifying examination conducted by the Supreme Court.

Lily is known for her petition to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1952. She had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to strike down Section 8(4) of the act. In her petition, she sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to declare the section as unconstitutional. Her petition was initially turned down by the top court. She fought for nine years and the court finally upheld her argument.

With this, she ensured convicted criminals don’t contest elections and find a place in the Parliament and states’ Legislatures. The Supreme Court ruled that politicians will be automatically disqualified as soon as they are convicted by a court. This resulted in the automatic disqualification of many politicians from the Parliament and states’ Legislatures and prevented them from contesting elections.

Several politicians including RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was one of the first politicians who couldn’t contest elections.

Lily Thomas hailed from Kottayam in Kerala. She grew up in Trivandrum. She obtained a law degree from Madras University. She began practicing in 1955 in Madra High Court. She completed her masters course in law in 1959.

Lily was also the first lady to qualify for an LLM degree. She moved to the Supreme Court in 1960 and was the senior-most woman lawyer in the Supreme Court.

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