Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati (21 December 1921 – 15 June 2017) was the 17th Chief Justice of India, serving from 12 July 1985 until his retirement on 20 December 1986. He introduced the concepts of public interest litigation and absolute liability in India, and for this reason is held, along with Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, to be a pioneer of judicial activism in the country.
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- Law is not a mausoleum. It is not an antique to be taken down, dusted, admired and put back on the shelf. It is like an old but vigorous tree, having roots in history, yet continuously taking new grafts and putting out new sprouts and occasionally dropping dead wood. It is essentially a social process, the end product of which is justice and hence it must change with changing social values. Otherwise there will be estrangement between law and justice and law will cease to have legitimacy.
- P.N. Bhagwati Motilal Padmapat v State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1979 SC 621; 118 ITR 326.