Mr. Harbans Lal Sarin (1.2.1910 – 10.2.1993)


Mr. H.L. Sarin’s popularity amongst the legal fraternity was apparent from the fact that he was elected member of the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana continuously from 1950 to 1975 after which his son, Mr. M.L. Sarin contested and was elected. Mr. Sarin was also Chairman of the Bar Council for a number of terms and took special pains to enroll young advocates in the shortest possible time so that they could return home and start practice at the earliest.

Mr. H.L. Sarin was a unique human being. He was a true friend and had the ability to have lasting relationships with people. His friendship with Mr. K.L. Pandit, Advocate, which started when they were in class eight, lasted for over 53 years. They lived together till January 1976 when Mr. Pandit expired. Mr. H.L. Sarin’s Clerk, Mr. H.K. Sharma, joined him in 1952 and continues with the office till now.

Mr. Sarin will be remembered for leading a highly disciplined and methodical life. He did not need a computer for he functioned like one. He always ensured that the client received intimation immediately following any action in his case. He further sent a copy of the letter to the counsel in the lower court to keep him abreast of the matter also.

He was a hard task master and could not sit idle for a moment. That is why his free moments in the High Court (which were quite rare) were not spent in the Bar Room, but in an empty courtroom preparing a case or reading proofs of one of the numerous books he authored.

Despite prospering professionally, Mr. Sarin lived an extremely simple life. During his entire life, he never used a heater, a cooler, an air conditioner or even a hot water bottle. He disliked any kind of unnecessary wastage or ostentatious habits. He was a born environmentalist and could not tolerate lights or fans left on in an empty room.

In spite of his very busy professional life, Mr. Sarin found time to join the first Lions Club of Chandigarh of which he later became the President, and thus helped the poor, hungry and the down trodden through the service club. In 1960, he joined the Masonic Lodge and achieved 100% attendance right up to December 1992-a period of 32 years.

Mr. Sarin was the proud father of two daughters – Mrs. Meena Sarin whose husband, Mr. Surinder Mohan Sarin, is an Advocate practicing at the Supreme Court, Ms. Madhu Sarin an Architect-cum-Development Planner with special interest in the field of environment; and three sons – Mr. J.L. Sarin, IAS (Retd.), Mr.M.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate and Mr. R.L. Sarin, Advocate. He was a loving and understanding father-in-law to his daughters-in-law. Neerja, Niti and Neelu. His grand daughter Ms. Hemani Sarin, Advocate and grandson and his wife, Mr. Hemant Sarin, Advocate, Mrs. Alka Sarin, Advocate (former Joint Secretary of the Punjab & Haryana High Court Bar Association) also practice in the High Court. His grand children Sidharth, Nikhil, Radhika, Rahul, Tarun, Malini, Kabir, Advocate and Nitin, Advocate, on whom he doted, brought a special dimension into his life.

Many young lawyers who worked and trained under Mr. H.L. Sarin are today successful advocates in their own right. He was always available to the members of the Bar for any guidance or advice and showered paternal love on each and every one of them.

Mr. H.L. Sarin was an excellent lawyer whose knowledge of law was par excellence. He could never turn a client away and helped each and everyone, whether he could pay his fee or not. Many of his clients worship him.

In the end of December, 1992, he fell sick. He had to be hospitalized where he picked up some infection which led to septicaemia. After a struggle in the intensive Care Unit of PGI, the end came in February 10, 1993.

In memory of this great legal luminary and in memory of his brilliant late son, Mr. Ranjit Lal Sarin, the Sarin Legal Aid Foundation has been set up to extend a helping hand to those in need and to provide a training ground for young lawyers in whose hand lies the future of the judiciary in India.