"In the 10 years that he served the UPA government, first as Solicitor General and then as Attorney General, he stood out in so many ways -- for the sheer dedication and rigour that he brought to his work, his meticulous attention to detail and, above all, his commitment to the cause of justice and truth," Gandhi wrote to the late jurist's son Essaji.
Vahanvati, who represented the UPA government in many high -profile cases, including those related to the allocation of coal blocks, passed away in Mumbai on September 2 following a heart attack. He was aged 65.
Sonia said he was an inspiring and much-loved mentor to generations of young lawyers, "generous with his help, advice and wise counsel". "I have no doubt the years of hard, unstinting effort he put into his work took a toll on his health," Gandhi said, referring to him as someone with a gentle demeanour that belied the strength and power of his legal briefs and arguments.
Noting that he lived life to its fullest, Sonia said that despite his devotion to work, Vahanvati took joy in all that life had to offer -- music, book, trees and flowers.
"You must draw consolation from the fact that you cared for him with utmost devotion in his months of ill-health and that now he is released from suffering. He leaves behind a rich legacy, both as a lawyer and a fine human being, and his memory will always be honoured," Gandhi said.