Justice Saiyed Saghir Ahmed

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justice s saghir ahmad

Justice Saiyed Saghir Ahmed – A Tribute

Naved Masood*

News had come last week of the hospitalisation of Justice Saiyed Saghir Ahmed with respiratory distress in Lucknow. When I rang up to inquire his welfare his son in law gave the glad tidings that he was out of the woods and I could briefly speak to him. On Sunday it was gathered that he was well on his way to recovery and will be discharged on Monday morning – news came late last night (Monday) evening that he was no more! This brings the curtain down on the life of a loveable, affectionate human being.

Saghir Bhai, as he was almost universally known, was born in 1935. His father Mr. Syed Mohammed Husain was not only a well known lawyer but a versatile jurist whose compendium of legislations and regulations from the days of the East India Company onwards is a testimony to his erudition. Saghir Bhai had his early education in Christian College Lucknow. After passing the Intermediate examination he went to Aligarh and obtained his BSc from the AMU. He came back to Lucknow to be in his father’s foot-steps and joined the legal profession after obtaining a degree in Law from the University of Lucknow. He soon became Standing Counsel for the Central Government at the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court; his fairness and diligence stood Organisations like the Railways in good stead. He was elevated to the Bench of the High Court in 1981 and was appointed Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 1993. He was transferred to Hyderabad as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 1994 from where he moved over to the Supreme Court in 1995 retiring in June 2000.

As a judge he was very popular among the lawyers due to his unfailing politeness and consideration particularly to the younger members of the bar. Though he left Uttar Pradesh in 1991 he maintained contacts with the members of the subordinate judiciary. To the younger judicial officers with a reputation of integrity he was some kind of a patron saint. His major contribution to public affairs came after retirement when in 2005 the Prime Minister appointed him to head a Committee to work out a consensus among different regions and sections of Jammu and Kashmir for enhanced autonomy. Although the recommendations of the Committee remain unimplemented any future initiative to iron out local differences will have to substantially lean on the “Saghir Ahmad Committee” report.

This writer had the good fortune of enjoying his unselfish love and attention. Whenever he happened to visit Delhi he would invariably ask for a ‘nashist’ or a sitting for general conversation. Even as late as last Friday when he had come out of coma and we spoke over the phone, he was solicitous of my welfare and expressing a keen desire to meet face to face at an early date. He was a generous host and a real connoisseur of good food awho was genuinely pleased to have at least a few guests share the repast at the dining table. Deeply attached to his father, during his judgeship of the High Court in Lucknow he would drive most evenings from his residence in Kali Das Marg to the old city to have Dinner with him. His innate goodness and lack of aggressive covetousness came in the way of receiving post retirement sinecures and assignments that come all too frequently to retired judges of the apex court – his reward was however the high degree of love and respect that he enjoyed among the members of the bar and general public.

In the death of Justice Saiyed Saghir Ahmed the country and community has lost a most decent human being and this writer has been deprived the company of someone considerably older than him but who was a dearly respected friend.

*Mr. Naved Masood is an AMU Alum and a senior Civil Servant in Govt. of India and he is based in New Delhi. He can be reached at naved.masood@gmail.com

Justice Saghir Ahmed's demise

Dear Sir,

I read with grief the obitury written by you of Justice Saghir Ahmed. Having met him through you many times and having appeared before him a number of times, I was struck by the innate humanity, gentleness and judiciousness with which he conducted himself both in his personal and judicial life.

A great loss indeed. I have rarely, if at all, met a judge and a man so humble and so human as him.

Mr Anees Ahmed
UN Prosecutor
Rwanda International Crime Against Humanity Tribunal

Paying respect to the departed loved one, Justice Sagheer

Dear Aligs,
Over the last couple of weeks, it was sad to know about the deterioration of the health of justice Sagheer Sahab. I and my family prayed to God in our daily prayers since the day we learnt about his health problems. Then came a day when we heard that Sagheer Sahab is no more. It caused unbearable pain and grief. I heard a lot about marhoom wo maghfoor from one of my closest friends late Sarfraz Ahmad Khan. Justice Sagheer was truly a monumental icon of Indian Judiciary. My friend used to describe him as a ‘many splendored personality.
On the request of my friend, justice Sagheer visited Dehradun. On his retrun from Mussoorie, there is mosque and madarsa on Rajpur Road. He offered Asar namaz there and to the surprise of all his entourage, he had jalebees in an adjacent dhaba. His incognito style of life was praised by all and sundry. My brother Shahzad Ansari, an alig and an engineer working in MCD used to visit his residence in Delhi with Sarfraz Khan. On his return, he used to phone me saying naushad bhai, today Sagheer Sahab made eat us Qeema and Puri. Sometimes, he used to say, today, naushad bhai, it were seikh ke kabab.
I owe a personal debt to him when I received a major penalty in a case of lost confidential document from the head of my Department. Soon after receiving it, I contacted Sarfraz khan. He spoke to Justice Sagheer Sahab. Later on, he asked me to contact Syed Mansoor, a legal luminary and son of Justice Sagheer Sahab at Lucknow. My case was fought and won by Syed Mansoor in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court. I was so happy over this unbelievable success that I went to Lucknow and offered an envelope containg the fee to Mansoor Bhai. He did not accept the envelope saying you are the friend of Sarfraz Ahmad Khan for whom my father has a special words of praise. I will not accept the fee from you. But you can do one favor to me. Whenever you visit Lucknow next time, bring goolab jaman from Dehradun.
I obeyed the directive of mansoor bhai in letter and spirit.
“As with flowers, so with men
They blossom, bloom and wither away….
But there are some who always
Leave a fragrance behind……”
Today, Justice Sagheer, mrahoom wo maghfoor is not with us but his fragrance is.
May his soul remain in peace. Khuda unhein ghariq-e-rahmat kare aur mansoor bhai wo digar ahl-e-khana ko sabr-e-jameel ataa farmey.Ameen, summa amen.
Naushad ansari,

Justice Saghir, full of humility

Although I had heard many good things about Justice Saghir Ahmad, I got the opportunity to meet him last year at his residence. When I told him that I teach in Lucknow Christian College, he became nostalgic and told me many stories of his time, especially that he played many cricket matches on the ground opposite to Centennial School(Justice Saghir did his intermediate from christian college). It was such a joy for me to meet a man of such a high stature, yet so simple and full of humility. His son Mansoor did his graduation from christian college and was my student. He also practices law in Lucknow.

My condolences to the braved family and I pray to God that his soul may rest in peace.

David Charles
Ph.D. (Chemistry)'75

Justice Sagheer Ahmed laid to rest in Lucknow


Justice Saghir is no more

ASAK. I have no words to express my grief on the sad demise of Justice Syed Saghir Ahmad. I knew him for years. He was my Ph.D examiner and he wanted to conduct my viva in Delhi because as sitting judge of the Supreme Court he was not finding time to come to Aligarh. But since the university did not agree to it, he finally came and conducted viva. First of all he spoke for 40 minutes on my thesis and then said that he got all my refernces checked in the Supreme Court Lib but could not find 12 citations. He asked me to explain this before putting questions to me. I told him these are italian citations from european works. Thereafter i met him several times. He was very affectionate and hospitable.He was highly religious and caring person.
As registrar when we were fighting minority status case, he used to call me every evening to know the proceedings of the case in Allahabad. AMU's minority character was very dear to him and he was deeply concerned about it. As member of Court and EC, i found him very sincere and committed to the well being of the university. his interventions in the deliberations were short, to the point and free from politics.
As a judge, Justice Saghir has given several landmark decisions. On governmental liablility he authored few historic decisions.
I pray Allah to rest his soul in peace and give all of us courage to bear this loss.
Faizan Mustafa
National Law University, Orissa

An Homage to Honourable Mr. Justice Syed Saghir Ahmed

An Homage to Honourable Mr. Justice Syed Saghir Ahmed, retired Judge, Supreme Court of India. He breathed his last on January,31,2011, at Medical University,Lucknow, after remaining hospitalized for a week with breathing problem


Faith in Allah was your living force,

Honesty was your inborn virtue;

Humanism was embedded in you,

Simplicity was rooted in your blood.

It was the combination of all these four,

That made you an angel in human garb;

For centuries, the humanity aspires to see,

Then the like of you is born on earth.

The posterity will make you a guide,

To fix the scales of right and wrong ;

The just and unjust will have a final say,

In your verdicts, preaching and tales.

Those who think, you have died, are wrong,

Your greatness has given you an endless life;

The Nature only followed Its eternal rule,

Has enveloped you in the Celestial Bliss.

I pray for your soul to have its place,

In Paradise in the company of prophets;

I pray, the bereaved family may be consoled,

With the Divine Blessings, falling in torrents.


Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani,LL.D.

Sherwani Nagar, Sitapur Road

Lucknow, U.P. India


Re:Justice Saghir Ahmed

Inna Lillahe Wa inna Elaihe Rajeoon,

First Kamran Kazmi sahab then Irfanullah Sahab and now Justice Syed Saghir Ahmad.
We lost to much in January 2011 and all within a week. We all pray to Allah to shower his mercy on the deceased and place them in Jannah (Ameen).

Justice was known to me since he became member of AMU Court in Jan 2007 and later member of Executive Council in March 2007. I heard so many good thing about him from our seniors and respected members of this forum. Justice Saghir Ahmad served as Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High court and Andhra Pradesh High Court before moving to Supreme Court as a Judge.in 1995. He was retired from Supreme Court in 2000.

Once again e all pray to Allah to shower his mercy on the marhoom justice Saghir Ahmad sahab and place him in Jannah (Ameen).

Afzal Usmani
Austin TX

Justice Saghir Ahmed

Dear all,
With a deep sense of anguish I want to inform that Honourable Justice Syed Saghir Ahmed, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, died at about 7 p.m. today, January, 31 in the Trauma Centre of Medical University,Lucknow. He was admitted there on 24th with breathing problem, and for three days placed on ventilator. However, two days back he had recovered considerably, and the ventilator was removed. Yesterday, he was quite normal and conscious, talking freely to the visitors, and today he was to be discharged. Anyhow, in the morning suddenly he developed breathing problem, and was again placed on ventilator.
It was a tragic coincidence that his end came when all his relations were condoling the death of Er. Irfanullah Saheb who was very close to his family. Honourable Justice Saghir and his in-laws( close relations) also belong to Faizabad, and their and Er. Irfanullah Saheb's houses are in the same vicinity.
May both these righteous souls get the highest place in Paradise. Ameen

Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani,

Sir Syed Bi-Centenary


Hamiduddin Farahi


ZH Chowdhury

Satish Chandra