Born in 1924 in Kuala Klawang to parents of humble origins, the late G T S Sidhu spent his early years in Seremban, when at the age of 19, joined the Indian National Army (Malaya) whose purpose it was to secure independence for India from the British.
After the 2nd world war, G T S Sidhu or Tara as was fondly known, became a teacher at St Paul’s Institution Seremban where he also spent his spare time studying for his part I exams in law. A keen football, rugby and hockey player, it was at this time that he met Maureen, the daughter of a British Army Captain stationed in Seremban.
Maureen returned to London in 1952 with Tara in close pursuit. In 1955, both returned to Singapore after Tara succeeded in his Bar Finals at Lincoln’s Inn, and were soon married. Tara proceeded to obtain a job as a DPP and later a Magistrate. After the birth of their first son Americk, Tara joined the firm of Murphy & Dunbar (Singapore) and was thereafter asked to move to Kuala Lumpur to head their branch office there.
In 1963, G T S Sidhu and Khoo Eng Chin teamed up in a partnership known as Khoo & Sidhu, which still survives until today. It was during this partnership that Tara became a committed member of the Malaysian Bar Council and Lawasia, rising to the posts of President of each organisation in 1981 and 1987 respectively.
Tara’s belief in the preservation of Constitutional and Human rights led to the infamous “Parliament Walk-In” in 1981 in which over 100 lawyers ended up being charged in Court for unlawful assembly. His thorough knowledge of the constitution of a variety of independent nations held him in good stead when attending law conferences all over the world. Tara never tired of hard work and always gave more to a cause than was required or expected.
This eventually led to ill-health and a heart condition which manifested itself in 1980. Undeterred, Tara continued to pursue his beliefs whole-heartedly until another collapse in 1987 at the Lawasia conference in Kuala Lumpur, when he was the President.
After receiving treatment at the Brompton Chest Hospital in London and under the close observation of his son Dr Paul Sidhu, Tara returned to Kuala Lumpur in less than good health and with a poor prognosis. Active practice was no longer viable and hence Tara had to leave Khoo & Sidhu for some well-earned rest.
After a year of recuperation, Tara joined his son’s practice and set up the firm of G T S & Americk Sidhu in 1989.
Tara astounded all his doctors by his recovery and was soon back in Court conducting hearings. Unfortunately the untimely demise of his grandson Rory in 1993 had a profound effect on Tara and in his own philosophy felt he had borrowed time which was not his.
Tara passed away 4 months later.
He is survived by his widow Maureen, sons, Americk and Paul, and daughter Carolyn.
The Bar has lost an icon. His absence has deprived the legal profession of a guiding light so desperately needed in these changing times.
By: Americk Sidhu