I attended the first Palkhivala Memorial Lecture organised by the Palkhivala Foundation on February 22, 2003 at the Rani Seethai Hall in Chennai. The speaker was Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and the announced topic was 'Nani Palkhivala and the Constitution of India' but Sorabjee's speech was more in the nature of a tribute to Nani Palkhivala (NP). Sorabjee reminisced about his long association (both professional and personal) with NP, including mentions of various cases argued by NP- the Keshavananda Bharati case being the most famous. (Does anyone know if there is a full text of the arguments and the judgement of this famous case, available anywhere on the web or in print? If yes, please mail me at truthks_at_vsnl_dot_net).
The full text of Sorabjee's speech is now available here.
The hall was overflowing with standing room only and Arvind Datar, one of the trustees of the Palkhivala Foundation, indicated at the end that they were themselves overwhelmed by the size of the audience. Apparently many current and former High Court and Supreme Court judges were present in the audience - they seem to have come in their official cars, which were aplenty in the already overflowing car park. When I arrived, the former Attorney General, Parasaran was speaking. Not recognising him, I enquired about about the identity of the speaker with a few people listening to the speech - they all seemed to be under the impression that they were listening to Sorabjee! I can recognise Sorabjee by face (what's more the speaker was sporting a Namam!) and told them it wasn't Sorabjee. They seemed quite surprised, even asking if I was sure. It was a while before I found someone who knew who the speaker was. The lady making announcements also seemed to think his name was "Parasan", amusing many in the audience.
The Palkhivala Foundation announced that it will be organising lectures every quarter, aimed at contributing to public debate on important economic, political and social issues.
Addendum: The Chennai press covered Sorabjee's speech, but as I'd expected left out many interesting parts of Sorabjee's speech. See what The Hindu and the The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition) had to say.