O.P. Jindal Global University Announces Soli J. Sorabjee Endowment Award & Scholarship 

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.

Satvik Varma (L) and Soli J (R)

To honour the memory of renowned Jurist and former Attorney General for India, 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 9every year to coincide with the birth anniversary of Sorabjee. The awards hall 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 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 Sorabjee. 

The Soli J. Sorabjee Endowment Award and Scholarship have been established owing to a generous endowment instituted by Senior Advocate Satvik Varma in his personal capacity and will be offered for 20 years. While making the endowment Varma shared “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 C. Raj Kumar observed, “The purpose of the scholarship is to promote academic excellence, research, integrity and diversity by recognising the outstanding academic achievement of a student in a course on human rights. We are grateful to Satvik Varma for partnering with O.P. Jindal Global University for instituting this award in the name of Soli. J. Sorabjee. Satvik Varma, himself a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School and also qualified to practice internationally, recognises the importance of the quality legal education that JGLS provides its students."

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 defence 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.

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