Latifi came from a distinguished family of legal practitioners and prominent public men, and his grandfather, Sir Badruddin Tyabji, had been a founding member and third President of the Indian National Congress. Latifi inherited both legal acumen and political fervour, with strong anticolonial proclivities. He matriculated at SJC in 1935, took Law Mods in 1936, a degree in Jurisprudence in 1938, and a BA degree in 1939, MA 1947. He was a member and President of the SJC Debating Society and Vice-President of the College Essay Society, as well as a member of the Athletics team in 1936-7, winning colours. Latifi was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1939, and became an Advocate in the Bombay High Court. Latifi was the first Indian to practice as barrister in the Bombay High Court, and possibly the first Muslim to rise to position of Senior Advocate in the Indian Supreme Court.[i] Latifi became a member of the Communist Party of India and the Punjab Muslim League in the 1940s, and drafted the 'Punjab Muslim League Manifesto' in 1944.[ii] Danial Alma Latifi had an extraordinary career marked by his involvement in and representation of some of the most seminal and significant (in terms of creating important precedents) cases in Indian legal history.[iii]
Latifi presented the College with a set of silver pattens in 1958, which remain in the College’s silver store, and may be seen here. They lie heavy in your hands, severely beautiful in their plainness, inscribed with Latifi’s name and the College’s Arms.
[i] For an informal and relatively amusing, if possibly unfair, reminiscence of Latifi see this short piece by the well-known Indian journalist, the late Khushwant Singh: https://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20000701/windows/above.htm
[iii] https://www.law.cornell.edu/women-and-justice/resource/danial_latifi_v_union_of_india; http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l141-Danial-Latifi-v.-Union-of-India.html; https://indianexpress.com/article/what-is/what-is-shah-bano-case-4809632/