Born in Rangoon in 1929, Fali Sam Nariman's early schooling took place there and in Simla. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in economics and history from St. Xavier's college in Bombay. He received his Law degree from the Government Law College in Bombay in 1950, having earned first standing in the Advocate's Examination and having been awarded the Kinlock Forbes Gold Medal and Prize for Roman Law & Jurisprudence.
He practiced in the Bombay High Court for 22 years, and was appointed a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India in 1961, a position he retains.
Since 1999, he also has served as a Member of Parliament, having been appointed by the President to Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, for a six-year term.
His other prior government service was as Additional Solicitor-General in the early 1970s.
Mr. Nariman has distinguished himself as an advocate for the protection of minority rights and a proponent of human rights.
He has held numerous positions of leadership in the legal comunity, both within India and internationally. These include:
- Vice President and later President of the Bar Association of India
- President of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific (LAWASIA)
- Founder and chairman of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific Member, Delhi Legal Aid & Advice Board
- Member, Press Commission of India
- Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists
- Member and Honorary President of the Inernational Council for Commercial Arbitration
- Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Assocation
- Leader of the Indian Delegation of Lawyers to the 59th International Law Association Conference at Belgrade and to the International Bar Association Conference in Berlin
- Member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
- Member of the Governing Council Body of the National Law School University in Bangalore
- Member of the General Council of the West Bengal National University of Judicial Sciences in Calcutta
His time in Parliament is brief in comparison to his service to the Bar;he was appointed late in 1999. In the three years since then, he has served on various committees, including the Rules Committee, the Ethics Committee, the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Standing Committee of Parliament on External Affairs. Mr. Nariman observes that having an appointed rather than an elective office allows him more freedom to speak his mind on the issues, since he has no constituency to offend.
Articles written and published by Mr. Nariman reveal the wide scope of his interests and accomplishments. A sampling of the scores of publications includes:
- "Democracy as a Way of Life"
- "The Indian Constitution - An Experiment in Unity and Diversity"
- "Zoroastrianism - the Faith of the Parsis in India"
- "Judicial Power and its Impact on Legislation"
- "Preventive Detention and Persecution of Political Opponents"
- "Primacy of the Chief Justice of India"
- "Freedom of Information and the Press"
- "Freedom of Expression and World Peace"
- "Judicial Aspects of Human Rights Protection in India"
- "Trends in the Internationalism of Human Rights Law"
- "Judges and Lawyers in the USSR Changing Perceptions"
- "Illegality of the Constitution 59th Amendment - Are Courts the Only Safeguards?"
- "Judicial Valour and Legal Aid"
Mr. Nariman has been married since 1955 to Shrimati Bapsi F. Nariman. They have two children, a son and a daughter.