Son of a junior civil judge, Justice Ahmadi was born in 1932 in Surat, Gujarat.
In an interview (in 2014) with Bar and Bench, he had recounted that although he grew up in a “legal atmosphere”, his father wanted him to become an engineer.
But, Ahmadi soon decided that engineering wasn’t his cup of tea and he "hopped into the law field and joined the law college." Subsequently, he cleared his enrolment exam in the first attempt and started practice in 1954.
From Sessions Court Judge to CJI: An Illustrious Career
In 1964, he was appointed as a judge of the City Civil & Sessions Court Ahmedabad and in 1974, he was appointed as secretary to the legal department of the Gujarat government.
In 1976, AM Ahmadi became a judge of the Gujarat High Court.
During his time as a Gujarat High Court judge, Ahmadi also served as a chairman of advisory boards for Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities, Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities.
12 years later, in 1988, Justice Ahmadi was elevated to the Supreme Court of India and eight years after that, in 1994, he became the chief justice of India.
Post his retirement in 1997, Justice Ahmadi went on to serve as a chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and is known to have been a strong advocate of minority rights.
In his presidential address (2012) at the International Conference on “Minority Rights and Identities: Challenges and Prospects in an Unfolding Global Scenario”, Justice Ahmadi reportedly hailed education as the only recourse for empowerment of minorities. He also lamented the alleged bias in the police forces against the Muslim community.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench.)