Chandigarh, Dec 29 (IANS) Leading lawyer Hira Lal Sibal, who had defended noted Urdu short story writer Saadat Hassan Manto in a case of indecent writing in 1945, passed away here Saturday and was cremated with full state honours. He was 98.
Sibal, the father of union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, had been admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here a few days ago and died in the morning of problems related to advanced age, doctors said.
Another of Sibal's sons, Kanwal, served as India's foreign secretary. He is survived by two other sons, Varinder and Jatinder.
The cremation in the evening was attended by union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is the Chandigarh MP, union Minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari and several others.
A contingent of Punjab Police presented a gun salute and reversed their arms as a mark of respect.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who described Sibal's passing away as a "personal loss", also attended the cremation. Earlier, he spent nearly two hours with the Sibal family at their house in Sector 5 here.
In his condolence message, Badal described Sibal as a "legal luminary and eminent jurist".
Sibal had served as advocate general of Punjab and Haryana twice each and was a well known lawyer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court.
His legal practice spanned 67 years. He started his practice way back in 1937. He was among the few lawyers to turn down the offer of becoming a high court judge.
Sibal had defended noted writers Manto and Ismat Chugtai in cases of indecent writing filed against them in the pre-Independence era. While the case against Manto was dismissed, Chugtai was fined Rs.90.