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Goodbye Ravi Dhavan

Ravi Dhavan, former judge of Allahabad High Court and ex-Chief Justice of Patna High Court, passed away on Monday morning casting a gloom among his erstwhile colleagues, friends, admirers and of course his near and dear ones. In fact the sudden death of Ravi Dhavan came as a stunning blow to the entire city. I just couldn’t believe it. Only a few days ago I met him for a while and we talked about the good old days. Little did I realize that I was meeting him for the last time. Allalhabad CJ, Dr Chandrachud and a whole lot of local legal luminaries were at his house to pay their last homage to the departed soul. I did call up at his residence to get a last glimpse of him too. But I learnt that he had already left on his last journey for his heavenly abode. We will see him no more. He has left behind a treasure of golden memories to keep him permanently alive in our hearts. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, especially Mrs Lucinda Dhavan, their three children, his younger brother Rajiv and sister Rani.

My memories rolled back to the students days.I had seen him grow, first as a lawyer—a very hard working advocate who could speak authoritatively on different subjects that came up for discussion. He was following the traditions laid down by his late father Mr S.S.Dhavan whose fiery oratory and forceful pen could overwhelm both the listener and the reader. As a judge of Allahabad High Court Ravi had delivered some masterpiece judgements which could be even regarded as a piece of literature. On some crucial issues his judgements were like a well-researched thesis containing details that were overwhelmingly informative.

I remember once he summoned me to the court to explain why his judgement had been misinterpreted in a sports news item. It was in his chamber that I had to face Mr Justice Ravi Dhavan and Mr Justice Srivastava . They said, ‘You must express regrets and explain what we have said’. Mr Justice Dhavan said: ‘This clarification should appear on Page 1 and under your name’. I told them, ‘Sir. I don’t know how to frame such things in a legal language’. He said, ‘Then take paper and pen and write your clarification here’. I told them, ‘Sir, but you will have to help me draft it’. There was a faint smile on his face. The report was written, both the judges approved it, and it was published as desired by them. This was his official side. But whenever I met him at his residence, he would share his love for music with me. He had such a rare collection of vintage songs. And he loved Saigal. So did I.

His death is a personal blow to me. But the entire Patrika family has been deeply shocked. This is because his better half, Mrs Lucinda Dhavan, was our colleague in the editorial department in the Patrika. She had endeared herself to every member of the staff and we who worked with her always miss her. Ravi would come every evening to escort her back home. My colleague Vishal Talwar tells me that only recently when he met him, he was inquiring about the Patrika and about me as well. Farewell Ravi. We will always remember you.

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