Supreme Court Advocate, Lily Thomas passed away in the early hours of Tuesday at the Max Hospital, Patparganj, New Delhi. She was 91 years old.
After obtaining a law degree from Madras University, she started her practice in the Madras High Court. In 1960, she moved to Delhi for research purposes, but later began practicing in the Supreme Court.
Among her many achievements, Lily is also known for having moved the Supreme Court against allowing convicted persons continue in Parliament. In 2013, the Apex Court ultimately struck down Section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which had allowed sitting MPs and MLAs an additional layer of protection from disqualification in case s/he is convicted of certain offences.
In an interview with Bar & Bench, she spoke of how she had filed the petition in 2005, overcoming several obstacles over the years. The Supreme Court ruling followed in 2013, after Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman took up the case in 2012 on Lily’s instance.
During the course of her legal career, she has also challenged the validity of the Advocates-on-Record system for filing Supreme Court cases and laws allowing bigamy upon conversion. With her efforts, the Supreme Court reaffirmed in 2000 that a man whose marriage is governed by Hindu laws, cannot enter into a second marriage merely by changing his religion, unless his first marriage is dissolved.