Laxmi Mall Singhvi

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Laxmi Mall Singhvi
Dr. L.M. Singhvi (1931-2007).jpg
Member of Lok Sabha
In office
Constituency Jodhpur
Member of Rajya Sabha
In office
Personal details
Born (1931-11-09)9 November 1931
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Died 6 October 2007(2007-10-06) (aged 75)
New Delhi, India.
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Occupation jurist, writer, diplomat
Religion Jainism

L. M. Singhvi लक्ष्मीमल सिंघवी (9 November 1931 – 6 October 2007) was an Indian jurist, parliamentarian, constitutional expert, scholar, and distinguished diplomat. He was, after VK Krishna Menon, the second-longest-serving High Commissioner for India in the United Kingdom (1991–97)[1] He was conferred Padma Bhushan in 1998.

Political career[edit]

Sanghvi was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. He took a degree in law and began his career in the Jodhpur trial and sessions courts. He was soon drawn to politics (as an opponent of the radical social agenda championed by Jawaharlal Nehru) and was elected by a narrow margin to the Third Lok Sabha (1962–67) from the Jodhpur constituency as an Independent. He lost the election of 1967 and did not return to Parliament until thirty-one years later.

As his political and social views were not consonant with those of the prevailing Congress party, Sanghvi's political career remained stunted during the era of Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv. However, he flourished both as a lawyer and as a writer. After 1967, he began practicing at the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court of India. He was named Advocate General of State of Rajasthan from 1972–77 and later a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India.

In 1991, Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao appointed him High Commissioner to the Court of St. James. He remained there till 1997, undisturbed during the brief tenures of the next two Prime Ministers. This made him, after VK Krishna Menon, the second longest-serving High Commissioner for India in the United Kingdom (1991–97). Returning to India in 1997, he was elected the following year to the Rajya Sabha (1998–2004) as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).[2] As MP, he served as Chairman of High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora.

Literary career[edit]

He wrote many books such as A Tale of three cities, Bharat or Hamara Samay, Jain Temple and a few in Hindi as well.

A linguist and a prolific author, Singhvi was also a well acknowledged scholar of Jain history and culture. He served as president of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. He spearheaded the Indian delegation to the United Nations conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague,[3] and gave the 1993 Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge on 'A Tale of Three Cities'.

He had conceptualised the idea of holding 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' to promote interaction with non-resident Indians.[4] His contribution to the country has come to light in the context of the movement for the introduction of the Lokpal bill. It was him who had mooted the idea of the Lokpal bill way back in the 1960s based on his study on the Ombudsman's role in the Scandinavian countries. It is said that he, at the behest of Nehru coined the term Lokpal.

He died on 6 October 2007, following a brief illness, in New Delhi, and is survived by his wife and two children.

Personal life[edit]

Dr. Singhvi was married to Hindi author, Shrimati Kamla Baid, and is the father of a son and a daughter. His son is Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Former Addl. Solicitor General of India, and later a politician from Indian National Congress. His daughter, Abhilasha Singhvi Lalbhai, a qualified lawyer, is engaged in social work as Managing Trustee of Manav Seva Sannidhi. His grandchildren are Anubhav Singhvi and Avishkar Singhvi, and Astha and Nishtha Lalbhai.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1993, Dr Singhvi was awarded the Padma Bhushan by Govt. of India, and an honorary degree of LLD by the University of Buckingham.[5]


The Supreme Court of India held the 'First Dr. L.M. Singhvi memorial lecture on 'Law, Technology and Society: Its dynamics’ on 17 January 2009, delivered by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India.[6]

Using a bequest by the Trustees of the British Indian Golden Jubilee Banquet Fund, "Dr L M Singhvi Visiting Fellowship" is given out by University of Wales and 'Centre of South Asian Studies', University of Cambridge, for visiting student and scholars of Indian nationality.[7][8]

The School of Constitutional Law at the National Law University, Jodhpur has been named after Dr. L.M Singhvi.


During the decade of the 1950s, the Jawaharlal Nehru government vigorously pushed an agenda of "social modernization" which amounted to dismissing the customs and traditions of India as backward and despicable, and enacting laws based on "modern values" and "progressive outlook" which enshrined Western systems of marriage, divorce, inheritance and human relationships as the law which the courts of India would uphold. These efforts caused great disquiet among the educated sections of society, who realized what was going on. However, the absence of an organized opposition party was an insuperable impediment to organized political resistance to this agenda. The Congress Party had the reputation and glamour of having secured the Independence of India from Britain, and there was essentially no second political party in the electoral firmament.


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