Justice (Rtd) M Rama Jois left us today. He was 10 years older than me, but had a friendly nature and would mingle with everyone, young and old. He was born in a poor family in a remote village in Thirthahalli taluk of Shivamogga district, at a time when it was difficult to pursue education. He would come to Shivamogga to study and be fed in ‘Vaaraanna’ tradition.
Young Jois was attracted to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology and served the organisation. He pursued law in Bengaluru and practised under then well-known advocate Venkatranga Iyengar, also known as ‘Writ’ Iyengar. Jois would also go on to file several writ petitions and earn fame. If he wanted to, he could have earned a lot of money, but he never wanted to be rich through his profession. He reached great heights only due to his multi-faceted talent.
Jois became a key worker of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, and later, secretary of Bengaluru City unit of the party. He was very close to national leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When we planned to hold a regional meet of the Jan Sangh in Shivamogga in 1972, I asked him if we could invite Vajpayee. Jois came with me to Delhi. Vajpayee had said, “How can I say no when Jois has invited me!”
During the Emergency, when Vajpayee and L K Advani were detained in Bengaluru, it was Jois who filed a PIL in the Karnataka High Court and argued effectively. That evening, when he went home from court, he was arrested and sent to the jail where Vajpayee was lodged. Later, Jois became a judge of the High Court and Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
When Vajpayee was Prime Minister, he appointed Jois Governor of Bihar. When the Lalu Prasad Yadav government passed an order to confer an honorary doctorate on Yadav, Jois refused to do so, as he did not match any guidelines. Later, the government nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He penned a book in Kannada and English on shlokas engraved in Parliament building, and it was my fortune that I released the book. May his soul rest in peace. (D H Shankaramurthy, former chairman, Karnataka Legislative Council)