Describing Bhagwati, who died on Thursday, as a stalwart of India's legal fraternity, Modi said he gave voice to millions. "The demise of Justice PN Bhagwati is saddening".
As a Supreme Court judge, Bhagwati introduced the concepts of public interest litigation (PIL) and absolute liability to the Indian judicial system. Justice Bhagwati has been ailing for some time. The Prime Minister added that Bhagwati's demise is saddening and sent his condolences as well.
Married to Prabhavati Shethji, he has three daughters Parul, Pallavi and Sonali. The family said that the funeral will be held on Saturday in New Delhi.
He was chief justice from 12 July, 1985, to 20 December, 1986. The son of NH Bhagwati, who went on to become a Supreme Court judge, he began his law practice at the Bombay High Court and was elevated to the bench of the Gujarat High Court in 1960.
In what was known as a landmark judgment, Bhagwati was instrumental in hearing the passport impounding case of 1978 involving renowned activist Maneka Gandhi, where he pronounced that every individual has the right to hold a passport, without any restriction on his or her movement.
One of the important judgements pronounced by him was in the Maneka Gandhi passport impounding case in 1978 in which he elaborated the concept of right to life, and ruled that a person's movement can not be restricted.