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PUCL Bulletin, 2007

V M Tarkunde

Vithal Mahadeo Tarkunde was born on July 3, 1909 at Saswad in Pune. Second son, amongst four brothers and sisters, he was educated at Pune. He obtained his B A Agriculture degree in 1929. He proceeded to England and attended the Lincolnís Inn and qualified as a Barrister. He returned to India in 1932. In 1934 he joined the Congress and the Congress Socialist Party.

Barrister Tarkunde started his practice in Pune. As a leftist Congress man, he used to devote 15 days in a month to work amongst the peasants. He was elected to the AICC from Purander Taluka. In the meantime, he came in touch with the writings of MN Roy, who was in jail at the time. MN Roy was released in 1936 and joined the Congress along with his band of workers. Tarkunde also left the CSP and joined the League of Radical Congressmen inside the Congress. The League of Radical Congressmen decided to function as an independent party in 1940 under the name of the Radical Democratic Party. Tarkunde left the Congress and joined the RDP. In 1940 he married Chitra, who was studying for MA in Pune. The RDP was dissolved in 1948. Tarkunde recommenced his legal practice in Bombay High Court in 1948. The then Chief Justice Chagla elevated him to the Bench in 1957.

Vithal Mahadeo Tarkunde and Chitra were blessed with a daughter, Manik. She is a practicing advocate in the Supreme Court along with her husband Rayan Karanjawala, who is also practicing in the Supreme Court.

Being a Judge of the High Court, Judicial discipline required that Tarkunde did not participate in any movements or express views on controversial issues. He, therefore, decided to retire pre-maturely and did so on September 15, 1969 and shifted to Delhi with his wife and daughter and started practicing in the Supreme Court. His life in Delhi and his association with JP and his movements is known to everybody. He expired on March 22, 2004. The PUCL decided to commemorate his work in the shape of a Memorial Lecture. The PUCL National Council decided that the Lecture should be held every year on November 23, the date on which the Constitution of the PUCL was adopted in 1980.

Tarkunde memorial lecture index

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