Arun Jaitley, who is highly noted for his sense of justice, was the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Government of India from 2014 to 2019. He was born on 28 December 1952 to Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, a lawyer and Ratan Prabha, a housewife. He held an LLB degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi in 1977.
Jaitley was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader at the Delhi University Campus in the seventies and rose to be the President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974.
The Emergency, seen as one of the darkest periods in the Indian history, was imposed for 21 months from 1975 to 1977 by then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Arun Jaitley was among one such political leaders who were arrested for dissenting the Emergency declaration. He was placed under preventive detention for 19 months. He was a second-year law student at the time of his arrest.
He was a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched in the year 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan.
In 1977 Jaitley became the national convenor of the Loktantrik Yuva Morcha youth organization, which campaigned for Janata Party candidates that year. He joined the BJP after its formation in 1980. His career as a politician and a lawyer progressed simultaneously together. He served as additional solicitor general in the BJP-led government in 1989–90, during which time he was involved in some of the investigations into the scandal involving a Swedish weapons manufacturer accused of paying bribes to several high profile personalities, including then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Jaitley had been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party since 1991. In 1999, when the Vajpayee government came to power, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) on 13 October 1999.
Jaitley was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2000, representing the state of Gujarat, and he was reelected in 2006 and 2012.
He was chosen as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on 3 June 2009 by L.K. Advani. He ceased practising law following the appointment.
On 26 May 2014, Jaitley was selected by newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the Minister of Finance, the Minister for Corporate Affairs and the Minister of Defence, in his cabinet.
In November 2015, Jaitley said that personal laws governing marriages and divorces should be subject to fundamental rights, as constitutionally-guaranteed rights are supreme. He announced the Income declaration scheme, 2016 on September 2016.
The government demonetized the ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series, during his tenure as the Finance Minister of India, with the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, fake currency, and terrorism from 9 November 2016.
Arun Jaitley suffered from kidney complications in 2018 followed by which he underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Arun Jaitley’s health took a turn in January 2019, after he was diagnosed with a rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma and sought treatment in New York.
In May 2019, Arun Jaitley wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he cited his health as a reason for not taking an active role in the formation of the new government.
On August 9, he was admitted to AIIMS after he complained about breathlessness and restlessness. Day by day his health deteriorated and ultimately breathed his last on August 24, 2019.
Arun Jaitley was a stalwart leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and with his death, the BJP has lost its one of the most authoritative leaders.