Arun Jaitley (born 28 December 1952) is an Indian politician and lawyer who is the current Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the Cabinet of India. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jaitley previously held the cabinet portfolios of Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice in the Vajpayee government (1998–2004) and briefly served as the Minister of Defence in the Narendra Modi government. From 2009 to 2014 he served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.He is a Senior Advocate of the Delhi High Court. He studied at St. Xavier’s School, New Delhi from 1957–69. He graduated in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973. He passed his Law degree from the University of Delhi, in 1977.
Jaitley was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader in the Delhi University Campus in the seventies and rose to be the President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974. During the period of proclamation of Internal Emergency (1975–77) when civil liberties were suspended, he was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months. He was a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched in the year 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. He was the Convenor of the National Committee for Students and Youth organisation appointed by Jai Prakash Narayan He was also active in civil rights movement and helped found PUCL Bulletin along with Satish Jha and Smitu Kothari.After being released from jail he joined the Jan Sangh.
Jaitley has been practising law before the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in the country since 1977. In January 1990, Delhi High Court designated him as a Senior Advocate. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V. P. Singh government in 1989 and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal. His clients cover the political spectrum from Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal to Madhavrao Scindia of the Indian National Congress to L. K. Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has authored several publications on legal and current affairs. He has presented a paper on law relating to corruption and crime in India before the Indo-British Legal Forum. He was a delegate on behalf of the Government of India to the United Nations General Assembly Session in June 1998 where the Declaration on Laws Relating to Drugs and Money Laundering was approved.