Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley, Minister.jpg
Minister of Finance
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by P. Chidambaram
Minister of Corporate Affairs
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Sachin Pilot
Minister of Defence
In office
26 May 2014 – 9 November 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by A. K. Antony
Succeeded by Manohar Parrikar
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Assumed office
9 November 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Prakash Javadekar
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
In office
3 June 2009 – 26 May 2014
Preceded by Jaswant Singh
Succeeded by Ghulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Law and Justice
In office
29 July 2003 – 21 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Jana Krishnamurthi
Succeeded by Hans Raj Bhardwaj
In office
7 November 2000 – 1 July 2002
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Ram Jethmalani
Succeeded by Jana Krishnamurthi
Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Preceded by Dr Manmohan Singh
Personal details
Born (1952-12-28) 28 December 1952 (age 62)
New Delhi, India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party (1980–present)
Spouse(s) Sangeeta Jaitley (1982–present)
Children Rohan
Alma mater Shri Ram College of Commerce
Faculty of Law, University of Delhi
Religion Hinduism

Arun Jaitley (born 28 December 1952) is a Bharatiya Janata Party politician, currently serving as Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Information, and Broadcasting, in the Government of India and also as Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha. He previously held the cabinet portfolios of Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice in the National Democratic Alliance government (1998–2004). From 2009 to 2014 he was Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and is also a former Minister of Defence.[1][2]

In the 2014 general election, Jaitley was the unsuccessful BJP candidate for the Amritsar seat in Lok Sabha, defeated by the Indian National Congress candidate Amarinder Singh.

A lawyer by profession, he is a Senior Advocate of the Delhi High Court.

Political career as student union leader[edit]

Jaitley was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader in the Delhi University Campus in the seventies and rose to be President of the University Students' Union in 1974. During the period of proclamation of Internal Emergency (1975–77) when civil liberties were suspended, he was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months.[3] He was a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched in the year 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. He was the Convenor of the National Committee for Students and Youth organisation appointed by Jai Prakash Narayan.[4] He was also active in civil rights movement and helped found PUCL Bulletin along with Satish Jha and Smitu Kothari.[5][6] After being released from jail he joined Jan Sangh.

In 1977, being the convener of the Loktantric Yuva Morcha at a time when the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat, Jaitley was appointed the president of the Delhi ABVP and All India Secretary of the ABVP. He was then made the president of the youth wing of the BJP and the secretary of the Delhi Unit in 1980, a short time after joining the party.[7]

Legal career[edit]

Jaitley has been practising law before the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in the country since 1977.[1] In January 1990, Delhi High Court designated him as a Senior Advocate.[2][8] He was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V. P. Singh government in 1989 and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal.[6][7] His clients cover the political spectrum from Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal to Madhavrao Scindia of the Indian National Congress to L. K. Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has authored several publications on legal and current affairs. He has presented a paper on law relating to corruption and crime in India before the Indo-British Legal Forum. He was a delegate on behalf of the Government of India to the United Nations General Assembly Session in June 1998 where the Declaration on Laws Relating to Drugs and Money Laundering was approved.[2]

Jaitley has also appeared on behalf of giant multinational corporations such as PepsiCo against and Coca Cola and in various other cases in India.[9][10] After having been the Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Jaitley represented Pepsi in 2002 in a case where the Supreme Court of India admonished and imposed stiff fines on 8 companies for painting advertisements on ecologically fragile rocks along the Manali-Rohtang road in the Himalayas. "The companies were also issued show-cause notices as to why exemplary damages should not be imposed on them for indulging in environmental vandalism."[11] In 2004, Jaitley appeared on behalf of Coca Cola in a Rajasthan High Court case.[12]

He has stopped practising law from June 2009.[13]

Political career[edit]

Jaitley with Prime Minister Modi and the three heads of the military staff.

Jaitley currently heads the ministry of finance and also headed the ministry of defence for a brief period of time, in the Modi government,

Jaitley had been the member of the ABVP, the student wing of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) during his student years. He has been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party since 1991.[14] He became the spokesman of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election. In 1999, After the Vajpayee Government of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance came to power under as, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) on 13 October 1999. He was also appointed Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge), a new ministry created for the first time to give effect to the policy of disinvestments under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. He took over the additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on 23 July 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs. He was elevated to a Cabinet Minister in November 2000 and was made simultaneously the Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping. He was the first Minister of Shipping following the bifurcation of the Ministry of Surface Transport. He demitted the office of the Minister for Shipping with effect from 1 September 2001 and as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on 1 July 2002 to join as a Secretary General, BJP and its national spokesman.[1] He worked in this capacity till January 2003. He rejoined the Union Cabinet as the Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice on 29 January 2003.[7] With the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance in May 2004, Jaitley returned to serving the BJP as a general secretary, and back to his legal career.

He is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat (as of September 2014). He was chosen as the Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha on 3 June 2009 by L.K. Advani. On 16 June 2009 he resigned from the post of General Secretary of BJP as per his party's One Man One Post principle. He is also a member of the Central Election Committee of the party.[15]

In his capacity as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, he has been credited for his excellent oratory skills which is matched equally by his intense research into the topic. He played a vital role during the talks of the Women Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha and also supported Anna Hazare for the Jan Lokpal Bill.[7] However, being in the party since 1980 he never contested any direct election until 2014. He was the party's candidate for Amritsar (replacing Navjot Singh Sidhu) for Indian general election, 2014 which he lost to Congress candidate Amarinder Singh.

On 26 May 2014, Jaitley was selected by newly elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to be the Minister of Finance (which includes the Ministry of Corporate Affairs) and Minister of Defence in his cabinet.[16][17] He also serves as a member to the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank.[18]

Analysts have cited Jaitley's "part-time" focus on defense for a simple continuation of the failed policies of the previous government.[19]


WikiLeaks cable on Arun Jaitley's 'opportunistic' remark[edit]

As per WikiLeaks cable when pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism "will always be a talking point" for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue.[20]

Notable achievements[edit]

84th Amendment[edit]

He successfully introduced the eighty-fourth amendment to the Constitution of India in 2002 freezing parliamentary seats until 2026.[21]

91st Amendment[edit]

He successfully introduced the ninety-first amendment to the Constitution of India in 2004 penalising defections.[22]

Role as strategic planner of BJP[edit]

Jaitley has emerged as strategic planner for his track record of managing a number of victories in state Assembly election for the BJP. As general secretary, he has managed 8 Assembly elections as of May 2008. This also resulted BJP's success in the state of Karnataka.


Jaitley with Former Supreme Court Judge K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan at the Gujarat National Law University.

In 2002, Jaitley helped his close associate, Narendra Modi, win the Gujarat Assembly elections with a landslide mandate, winning 126 out of 182 seats.

In December 2007, Jaitley orchestrated a well organised campaign to return the incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi back to power. The BJP won 117 seats out of the 182 seats. Narendra Modi specifically asked the party high command to depute Jaitley in Gujarat. The primary poll issues were pro-incumbency of Narendra Modi and good governance by the state administration.

Madhya Pradesh[edit]

In 2003, Jaitley, managed the assembly elections for the BJP in the state of Madhya Pradesh. He along with Uma Bharti, won the election.


Arun Jaitley was specifically put in charge of Karnataka, which went to polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha in May 2004. Karnataka is the only southern state in which the BJP has a sizeable presence and a positive mandate for the BJP was expected. The BJP won 18 out of 26 Lok Sabha Seats in the State and emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly, capturing 83 seats, as opposed to the Congress' 68 and the Janata Dal's 59.

In May 2008, Jaitley oversaw a phenomenal election campaign in Karnataka, outdoing his previous performance. In the 224-member Assembly, the BJP won 110 seats, falling 3 short of a majority. Soon after, Jaitley negotiated the support of 5 independent MLAs thus taking the BJP's strength to 115. All party leaders starting from President Rajnath Singh to colleague Sushma Swaraj and the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate in Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, credited Jaitley with the victory. The Karnataka victory is widely touted as BJP's entry in South Indian politics.


In 2005, after the February elections resulted in a hung verdict, re-elections were held in November in the state of Bihar. This election was fought by the BJP in a coalition with the JD(U). He was the chief strategist of the NDA combine. The BJP, ended up winning an all-time high of 58 seats and with the JD(U)'s 88 seats were able to form the government. Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) was instated as Chief Minister and the BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi was installed as Deputy Chief Minister.of Bihar.


In February 2007, Jaitley managed the BJP's campaign in Punjab and coordinated a strategy between the party and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal. Out of the 23 seats the party contested, it won 19, a figure that surpassed all expectations and is the party's best-ever performance in the state.


Late in 2007, Jaitley was appointed general secretary in-charge of elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Of the 272 member Corporation, the BJP won 184 wards.


Jaitley's father was a lawyer.[23][24] He studied at St. Xavier's School, New Delhi from 1957–69.[25] He graduated in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973. He passed his Law degree from the University of Delhi, in 1977.[26] During his career as a student, he was the recipient of several distinctions for his outstanding performances both in academic and extra curricular activities. He was President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974.[5]

Jaitley has been married to Sangeeta Jaitley (daughter of Former J&K Finance Minister Girdhari Lal Dogra) since 24 May 1982. They have two children, a son named Rohan[27] and a daughter named Sonali.[1][28]


  1. ^ a b c d "PIB Press Releases". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame – Top 50" (PDF). J. Sagar Associates. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Cometh The Hour...". Outlook. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Singh, Justice Manmohan. "Mr. Arun Jaitley vs Network Solutions Private Limited". Delhi High Court. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b "Sorry". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Khandelwal, Avani (10 July 2014). "Who is Arun Jaitley: The rise of India's newest finance minister". DNA. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "List of Senior Advocates designated by Delhi High Court upto August, 2014" (PDF). Delhi High Court. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Cola war now goes to court,". 
  10. ^ "SC stays contempt proceedings against Coke, Pepsi, The Economic Times,". The Times of India. 
  11. ^ "SC imposes Rs 1 cr cost on firms for defacing rocks, The Times of India,". The Times of India. 
  12. ^ "Court blow to cola giants, The Telegraph,". Calcutta, India. 5 November 2004. 
  13. ^ "Arun Jaitley recuses himself from decisions on Vodafone tax case". Business Today. PTI. 19 June 201. Retrieved 6 September 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ "Rajya Sabha Members Homepage – Arun Jaitley". Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Central Election Committee". BJP. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Narendra Modi government: Full list of portfolios and ministers". The Indian Express. 27 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Corporate Affairs Ministry to be 'clubbed' with Finance Ministry". The Economic Times. 27 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Arun Jaitley appointed to Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank". Indo-Asian News Service. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  19. ^ RAGHUVANSHI, VIVEK (7 September 2014). "Analysts: New Modi Government Lacks Clear Defense Policy". (Gannett). Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Arun Jaitley introduced the 84th Amendment to freeze parliamentary seats until 2026
  22. ^ Arun Jaitley introduced the 91st Amendment to penalise defections(pdf)
  23. ^ Arun Jaitley is no ‘outsider’ to Amritsar – Niticentral
  24. ^
  25. ^ "My memorable School days at St. Xaviers". Arun Jaitley. Retrieved 17 February 2013. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Member Profile: Arun Jeitley". Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Knot for everybody's eyes". The Times of India. 24 April 2004. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  28. ^ "Profiles of Rajya Sabha Members (needs selection)". Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ram Jethmalani
Minister of Law and Justice
Succeeded by
Jana Krishnamurthi
Preceded by
Jana Krishnamurthi
Minister of Law and Justice
Succeeded by
H. R. Bhardwaj
Preceded by
Jaswant Singh
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
Succeeded by
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Preceded by
A. K. Antony
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Manohar Parrikar
Preceded by
P. Chidambaram
Minister of Finance
Preceded by
Sachin Pilot
Minister of Corporate Affairs
Preceded by
Prakash Javadekar
Minister of Information and Broadcasting