Justice Sarkaria dead, accorded state funeral

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Chandigarh, Oct 13 (UNI) Justice Ranjit Singh Sarkaria, former Supreme Court judge and former Chairman of the Centre-State Relations Committee, died last night in a private hospital here.

Justice Sarkaria, 91, was visiting his sister when he suddenly complained of breatlessness and was rushed to a private hospital last evening where he breathed his last at about 2300 hrs, according to family sources.

Born on January 16, 1916, justice Sarkaria did his LLB from University Law College, Lahore and began practice in Patiala. He made rapid progress in his chosen career and held many prominent offices, including Registrar Punjab High Court, judge of Punjab and Haryan High Court. He was appointed judge of Supreme Court in September 1973 and retired in 1981.

Post-retirement, he held the prestigious post of Chairman Press Copuncil of India and was then appointed Chairman of the Centre-State Relations Committee, which later became popularly known as the Sarkaria Commission.

He was cremated with full state honours this afternoon. A contingent of Punjab Police reversed arms after firing a volley of shots as a mark of respect for Justice Sarkaria.

Punjab Advocate General H S Mattewal, Chief Secretary R I Singh and Justice Kehar Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court placed wreaths on behalf of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Punjab government and the judicial fraternity respectively.

Prominent among others who also attended the cremation were Member Parliament and General Secretary Shiromani Akali Dal, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and a number of other prominent personalities.

Mr Badal expressed profound grief and sorrow over the demise of Justice Sarkaria, hailing him as an eminent jurist, legal luminary and above all a fine human being with rare qualities of head and heart.

Justice Sarkaria would always be remembered by one and all for his forthright recommendations on ''Centre- State Relations'' when he was the Chairman of the Centre-State Relations Committee, Mr Badal said.

The Chief Minister extended his heart-felt sympathies with the members of the bereaved family. UNI

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