Gopal Sri Ram Biography: Wife, Age, News, Net Worth, Children, Death

February 22, 2024 0 Posted By Johnson Ajiboye

Gopal Sri Ram was a renowned Malaysian judge, lawyer, and constitutional expert who left a lasting legacy in the Malaysian legal system.

He was known for his brilliant and unconventional judgments in various areas of law and his involvement in several high-profile cases involving politicians and public figures.

He was also a respected and influential figure who mentored many young lawyers and judges. He was the first practicing lawyer in Malaysia to be appointed directly to the Court of Appeal in 1994, and he served as a judge of the Federal Court until his retirement in 2010.


  • Full name: Gopal Sri Ram
  • Date of birth: August 16, 1943
  • Age: 79 years old (time of death)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of birth: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Nationality: Malaysian
  • Profession: Judge, lawyer, constitutional jurist
  • Height: 183 cm
  • Parents: Gopal Ayer Ramaswamy and Kamala Devi
  • Siblings: Gopal Ayer Sreenevasan, Gopal Ayer Rajagopal, and Gopal Ayer Ramanathan
  • Spouse: Chandra Sri Ram
  • Children: Vinayak Sri Ram and Govind Sri Ram
  • Relationship status: Single
  • Net worth: $2 million

Early Life & Education

Gopal Sri Ram, who would have turned 80 in 2023, died at 79, just a few months before his 80th birthday.

He was born on August 16, 1943 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was the second of four sons of Gopal Ayer Ramaswamy and Kamala Devi.

His brothers include Gopal Ayer Sreenevasan, Gopal Ayer Rajagopal, and Gopal Ayer Ramanathan.

His father was an assistant commissioner for labor in the state of Selangor, awarded the MBE and OBE for his work.

His mother was a homemaker who instilled in him a love for reading and learning. He grew up in a multiracial and multicultural environment and was exposed to various languages, religions, and cultures. He was fluent in English, Malay, Tamil, and Hindi.

He received his early education at Batu Road School and the Victoria Institution, where he excelled academically and participated in various extracurricular activities.

He was also a keen debater and orator, winning several prizes and awards for his eloquence and wit. He developed an interest in law and politics from a young age and was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Tunku Abdul Rahman.

He pursued higher education in England, obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London in 1968. He was called to the English bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1969 and was awarded the Tancred Studentship for his outstanding performance.

Lincoln’s Inn appointed him as a bencher in 2005, becoming the first Malaysian to receive this honor. He returned to Malaysia in 1970 and was called to the Malaysian bar the same year. He started his legal career as an advocate and solicitor and quickly became a formidable and fearless lawyer.

Personal Life

Gopal Sri Ram was married and had two children. He was married to Chandra Sri Ram, and together, they gave birth to Vinayak Sri Ram and Govind Sri Ram.

He was devoted to his profession and family and maintained a close relationship with his parents and siblings.

He was especially close to his elder brother, Datuk Gopal Ayer Sreenevasan, a pioneering Malaysian surgeon and instrumental in developing medical services in Malaysia.

He also had a wide circle of friends and colleagues who admired and respected him for his intellect, integrity, and generosity.

He was known for his kindness and compassion and often helped those in need, especially the poor and the oppressed.

He also patronized the arts and culture and enjoyed reading, writing, music, and theatre. He was a fan of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Tagore and wrote several articles and essays on various topics, including law, history, and philosophy.


Gopal Sri Ram had a distinguished and illustrious career as a judge, lawyer, and constitutional jurist. He was in active practice as an advocate until his elevation to the Court of Appeal on September 17, 1994.

He was the first practicing lawyer in Malaysia to be appointed directly to the Court of Appeal, bypassing the High Court.

He was known for his independence and impartiality and often delivered bold and unconventional judgments that challenged the status quo and upheld the rule of law.

He wrote about 800 judgments in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court between 1994 and 2010, covering various areas of law, such as constitutional, administrative, criminal, civil, commercial, and human rights law.

He was also known for his eloquence and clarity and often used literary and historical references, anecdotes, and metaphors in his judgments. Some of his landmark judgments include:

  • The case of Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhammad bin Taib v Public Prosecutor 1997, where he held that the presumption of corruption under section 4(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 was unconstitutional and violated the right to a fair trial.
  • The case of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim v Public Prosecutor 2004, where he dissented from the majority and held that the sodomy conviction of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was unsafe and should be quashed.
  • The case of Lina Joy v Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan [2007], where he dissented from the majority and held that the civil courts had jurisdiction to determine the religious status of a person who wished to renounce Islam and embrace Christianity.
  • The case of Semenyih Jaya Sdn Bhd v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat 2017, where he held that the property right was a fundamental liberty under the Federal Constitution and that any deprivation of property must be compensated adequately and promptly.

He retired from the bench in 2010 and returned to practice law. He continued to be involved in several high-profile cases involving politicians and public figures, either as a counsel or a prosecutor.

He represented former Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in his final appeal for allegedly sodomizing former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

He was the lead prosecutor for the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project corruption case involving former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

He was also leading the prosecution in Najib Razak’s 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts.

He was also a respected and influential figure in the Malaysian legal fraternity who mentored and inspired many young lawyers and judges.

He was a frequent speaker and writer on various legal issues and often shared his views and opinions on the state of the judiciary, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

He was also a staunch defender of the independence and integrity of the judiciary and often criticized any attempts to undermine or interfere with the judicial process.

He was also a vocal advocate for the reform and improvement of the legal system. He often proposed new ideas and suggestions to enhance the quality and efficiency of justice delivery.


Gopal Sri Ram passed away on January 29, 2023, after being warded for a lung infection a week before.

He was in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he took his last breath. He was 79 years old at the time of his death. He was cremated according to Hindu rites, and his ashes were scattered in the sea.

He was mourned by his family, friends, colleagues, and admirers, who paid tribute to his life and legacy.

He was also honored by the Malaysian government, which declared a day of national mourning and flew the national flag at half-mast.

He was posthumously awarded the Tun Hussein Onn Award for his outstanding contribution to the nation.


Gopal Sri Ram was not without controversy, as he often faced criticism and opposition from various quarters for his judgments and actions.

He was accused of being biased, prejudiced, and politically motivated, especially in cases involving the government, the opposition, or the royalty.

He was also subjected to threats, harassment, and intimidation, both online and offline, by those who disagreed or disliked him.

He was also sued for defamation, contempt of court, and sedition by various parties who felt offended or aggrieved by his statements or writings.

However, he never backed down or compromised on his principles and always defended his position and reputation with courage and dignity.

Social Media

  • Instagram handle: N/A
  • Twitter handle: N/A

Net Worth

Gopal Sri Ram’s net worth is around $2 million, although he never disclosed his income or assets to the public.

However, given his long and successful career as a judge and lawyer, it can be assumed that he was well-off.

He was also known for his modest and simple lifestyle and did not indulge in extravagant spending.

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