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V. R. Krishna Iyer

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer was born in the district of Palakkad in the state of Kerala, India, in November 1915. His father V. V. Rama Iyer was an advocate.

He studied and passed a Bachelor of Arts degree from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, he studied at Madras Law College under for a Bachelor of Law. In 1938, he enrolled as an advocate and was appointed to Ernakulam High Court.

He was appointed as a minister in the state government of Kerala following the victory of the Communist Party of India under E. M. S. Namboodiripad in the 1957 elections [1]. He was minister responsible for the departments of Home, Law, Justice, Energy, Irrigation, and Social Welfare.

For this reason, some critics refer to him as a Communist, although he himself states that I was never a communist, though I shared the socialist dimensions with them [1].

He headed a committee which published the Report on Processual Justice, which discussed a national project for free legal services for the poor in 1973.

V. R. Krishna Iyer later became a judge of the Supreme Court of India. During this time, the Supreme Court interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution of India in the sense that the national government was obliged to provide free legal services to accused people in custody. He retired from the Supreme Court in November 1980.

In 1987 he was a candidate in the election to become President of India, supported by political parties opposed to the governing Congress (I) party. The Electoral College consisted of 4695 elected members of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and of 25 State Legislative Assemblies, whose votes were weighted based on population and combined. R. Venkataraman won the election with 72% of the weighted vote, while Justice Iyer had 27% of the weighted vote. [1]

Among other activities in his retirement, he led the inquiry Crime Against Humanity - An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat [1] into the 2002 Gujarat violence.

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