Doyen of Labour Laws and Eminent Lawyer HL Kumar Passes Away

A well-known lawyer of labour laws in Delhi H L Kumar is no more. He was courteous to the core and enjoyed a good reputation across the country. Not only employers and their organisations but also employees, trade unions of all hues and colours, government officials and judges used to take advice and benefit from his knowledge and experiences. He was more known as Kumar Saheb to all his friends and acquaintances. He silently passed away on 24th October leaving hundreds of admirers and colleagues to mourn his death. He was in his late eighties and was an Ajatshatru, a friend of all and foe of none. Soft-spoken and quite amiable with everybody, Kumar Saheb was always ready to help others in every possible manner. He showed no signs of any illness, except age-related weaknesses, and was found to be engrossed in works to the fag-end of his life.
Kumar Saheb used to be nostalgic about Lahore (now in Pakistan) where he was born, spent his childhood and had his initial education. After partition, he moved over to India under the tutelage of his parents, who owned a hotel in Shimla. However, he did not opt to become a hotelier or a businessman but chose to pursue lawyering. For more than sixty years he has been in the profession and must have trained scores of lawyers. Apart from being an accomplished advocate, an excellent Samaritan, and a lovely human being, he was a good journalist, an expert law teacher, a writer of nearly fifty stand books and the founder-editor of the prestigious Labour Law Reporter (LLR) for over half a century. Yours truly has also been closely associated with this journal for more than thirty years. Kumar Saheb possessed mines of information and was blessed with sharp memory. He knew Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi besides having excellent command over English, the language of his education and profession. I requested him to write his memoirs but alas! the writer of dozens of books could not fulfil it for the benefit of the posterity.
I was introduced to Kumar Saheb by an intrepid and courageous trade union leader T M Nagarajan, who was opposed even by two-penny editors and journalists besides newspaper proprietors. He had seen that a journalist, who used to claim to be associated with a journalists’ trade union body, was closer to the Management of his newspaper than to the employee’s union. Kumar Saheb has been having an uncanny sense of recognising such black sheep and always kept them at arm’s length.
Kumar Saheb knew sections of different acts and relevant case laws by heart. He used to say that Employers must be well conversant with and advise their HR managers to implement them properly for a harmonious and congenial atmosphere in the organisation. His golden advice to the employers was that they should not ride roughshod over employees. He was associated with a number of educational institutions, industrial houses and hospitals as a legal adviser. Shri Kumar was a man of simple living and high thinking. As a Guest Faculty of labour laws at Delhi University, he was immensely popular among the students. Many of his students became judges of the High Courts, the Supreme Court and the presiding officers of various Tribunals.
He is survived by his wife, who retired as a professor in Philosophy from Daulat Ram College of Delhi University. His only son Gaurav Kumar is a lawyer, and a talented grandson Yajat Kumar is a lawyer in the making. The daughter is a medico and happily married. May God give eternal peace to his soul!