To honour the memory of renowned Jurist and former Attorney General for India, Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, O.P. Jindal Global University has established the Soli J. Sorabjee Endowment Award & Scholarship. This Award and Scholarship will be awarded annually to a deserving student in the field of Human Rights Law & Theory,offered as part of the undergraduate programmes at the Jindal Global Law School. The award will be announced on March 9 every year to coincide with the birth anniversary of Mr. Sorabjee. The award shall carry a scholarship, along with an Award Medal.
Soli Sorabjee was a champion of freedom of speech and expression, and defended the right to freedom of speech and expression in many landmark cases, that included the Kesavananda Bharti and the S.R.Bommai cases, in the Supreme Court of India. To Mr. Sorabjee, human rights are the conscience of the Constitution, and an independent judiciary, its conscience keeper. Therefore, the Scholarship and Award stands reminiscent of Soli Sorabjee’s achievements and his contributions to Human Rights advocacy in all its forms and an area of close interest to Mr. Sorabjee.
The Soli J. Sorabjee Endowment Award and Scholarship has been established owing to a generous endowment instituted by Senior Advocate Mr. Satvik Varma in his personal capacity and will be offered for 20 years. While making the endowment Mr. Varma shared “Mr. Sorabjee’s passing was a huge personal loss. Over the years, I had developed a very close personal relationship with him, which afforded an insight into the man as a lawyer and also his personal side. He was generous, affectionate, caring, compassionate and always ready to extend a helping hand. His values and passion have deeply inspired and influenced me. And his loss has left the legal community in India and abroad with a void. We felt the best way to continue his deep commitment to Human Rights was by instituting an extended Scholarship and Award in his memory.”
Announcing the Award , the Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar observed, “The purpose of the scholarship is to promote academic excellence, research, integrity and diversity by recognizing the outdstanding academic achievement of a student in course on human rights. We are grateful to Mr. Satvik Varma for partnering with O.P. Jindal Global University for instituting this award in the name of Mr. Soli. J. Sorabjee. Mr. Satvik Varma, himself a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School and also qualified to practice internationally, recognises the importance of quality legal education that JGLS provides its students. As someone vested in the legal system, Mr. Varma feels it his duty to help the future generation of lawyers and consequently this Scholarship and Award bridges Mr. Varma’s commitment towards nurturing law students and carrying forward the name and legacy of one of India’s leading legal luminaries. We thank him for this generous act.”
Professor Kumar observed, “Mr. Sorabjee, his daughter, Ms. Zia Mody and his wife, Ms. Zena Sorabjee have been great champions of Jindal Global Law School and O.P. Jindal Global University since its inception. They have participated in many initiatives of the university over the years. We feel deeply honoured to have instituted this endowment, which will celerbrate the legacy and the outstanding and inspiring contribution of Mr. Sorabjee.”
In response to the establishment of the “Soli J. Sorabjee Endowment Award and Scholarship” the celebrated jurist’s family welcomed the initiative and said that it was a great way to remember and celebrate him and perpetuate his memory. The family shared the message they wish to convey to the students at JGLS: Tread Ye the Path of Justice and Equity in All Things; a quote from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the central book of the Baháʼí Faith which deeply signifies the Baháʼí perspectives of justice.
While responding to this award, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU said, “As a research intensive university, and as an outcome of the graduate attributes at the O.P.Jindal Global University we expect our students to develop the capacity to take up social and civic responsibilities relating to the environment and the society and thus foster a deep understanding of, and respect, for, diversity and pluralism. The course on Human Rights Theory and Practice will help our students develop and deepen the understanding on human rights issues, and the Soli Sorabjee award to an outstanding student will be an enabler to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, in consonance with ideals and commitment of Mr. Soli Sorabjee”.
Soli J. Sorabjee was born in 1930 in Bombay. He studied at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Government Law College, Mumbai, and was admitted to the bar in 1953. At Government Law College, he was awarded the Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal in Roman Law and Jurisprudence (1952).
In 1971, Sorabjee was designated a senior advocate of the Bombay High Court. He served as Solicitor-General of India from 1977 to 1980. He was appointed Attorney-General for India on 9 December 1989 up to 2 December 1990, and then again on 7 April 1998, a post he held until 2004. In March 2002, Soli Sorabjee received the Padma Vibhushan for his defense of the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights. Throughout his career, Soli remained passionate about Public Law and International Law, especially in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights. Soli Sorabjee was appointed by the UN as a Special Rapporteur for Nigeria. Later he was appointed as Chairman of the UN Sub Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, from 1998 to 2004. He also served as a member of the United Nations Sub Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities since 1998. Soli Sorabjee also served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. Representing India, in the Atlantic Case between India and Pakistan, Sorabjee appeared before the International Court of Justice, The Hague.
Jindal Global Law School, with nearly 5000 student and 500 faculty members, is ranked India’s Number One Law School and the world’s 76th Ranked Law School by the QS World University Rankings By Subject 2021. It offers a range of undergraduate, post-graduate, masters’ and doctoral degrees in law, jurisprudence and legal studies.