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Famous Cases of Gopal Subramanium Notes | Study Legal Reasoning for CLAT - CLAT

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Gopal Subramanium
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Gopal Subramanium

He is an Indian lawyer, international arbitrator, academic and Senior Advocate who practices primarily in the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court. He served as the Solicitor General of India 2009–2011 and Additional Solicitor General of India 2005–2009. He served as Chairman of the Bar Council of India 2010–2011.

Solicitor General of India
Subramanium served as Solicitor General of India 2009–2011. During his tenure he also served as the Chairman of the Bar Council of India. As a senior law officer to the Government of India, he represented the Government as lead counsel in a wide range of matters involving complex questions of constitutional and criminal law.

Notable cases while Solicitor General of India include:

  • Acting as the Special Public Prosecutor in the prosecution of Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • Acting as lead counsel for the Union of India in the matter of Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India, wherein he defended state-sponsored reservations for Other Backward Classes of persons in India.
  • Acting as lead counsel for the Government of India in 2010-2011 in litigation concerning irregularities in allocation of 2G radio-spectrum bandwidth to various private telecom operators.
  • Acting as lead counsel for the Union of India in 2006 in the matter of Raja Ram Pal v. Speaker, where he successfully defended a contempt of privilege action taken by the Speaker of Parliament against certain members of Parliament, who were found guilty of raising questions in Parliament for illegal monetary gratification.
  • Acting as amicus curiae to the Supreme Court in 2011 in the matter of Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, where he presented a report on the realities of trafficking of children in India and assisted the Supreme Court in framing guidelines to deal with trafficking.

Legal work 2011–2015

  • Subramanium assisted the Supreme Court as Amicus curiae in many cases, including Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
  • Subramanium has appeared in a number of landmark cases concerning the law of arbitration in India, including the BALCO case (2012), where the Supreme Court of India ruled on the applicability of Part I of the Indian Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, to arbitrations held in a foreign seat, and awards arising therefrom, and Sundaram Finance (1999) (in respect of a court's powers to grant interim protection to parties pending arbitration).
  • In 2013, he represented Novartis AG as lead counsel, along with T. R. Andhyarujina, in the case Novartis v. Union of India & Others, the pharmaceutical company’s challenge before the Supreme Court to a denial to grant it an Indian patent for the cancer drug Glivec.
  • In the same year, Subramanium acted as a member of a Committee to Recommend Amendments to Criminal Laws, headed by Justice J. S. Verma, which recommended much-needed amendments to various Indian laws to ensure the safety and dignity of women and young children.
  • In 2014, Subramanium was mentioned in list of four people recommended by the collegium for appointment as Supreme Court judges. He withdrew his candidature[18] following media reports which said the Central Government was objecting to his appointment because of his alleged links with corporate lobbyist Nira Radia.
  • In 2015, Subramanium appeared for business tycoon Mohammed Nisham, for his bail plea in the Supreme Court of India. The businessman was accused of running over a security guard with his Hummer SUV over a delay in opening the gates of his apartment. On October 9, 2015, the SC bench led by Justice Dipak Misra dismissed the arguments of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for Nisham.
  • In 2015, Subramanium argued for greater literary and artistic freedom in the case Devidas Ramachandra Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra.

Legal work 2016–present

  • Subramanium successfully led arguments on behalf of the Government of Delhi in a case concerning the constitutional division of powers between the Delhi Government, the Union Government, and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
  • In 2017, Gopal acted as lead counsel for the Petitioners in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India where a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India unanimously held that there was a fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution.
  • In 2017, he represented Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo in enforcement proceedings before the Delhi High Court for a US$550 million ICC award with the seat at Singapore.
  • Between 2016-2019, Subramanium assisted the Court as Amicus Curiae in the case BCCI v. Cricket Association of Bihar on the implementation of the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations.
  • In 2019, he served as a member of the arbitral tribunal presided over by Justice R.S. Pathak, former Chief Justice of India and Judge, International Court of Justice in arbitration between Transammonia AG and MMTC Limited.
  • In May 2020, he became the first Indian Senior Counsel to appear before the Singapore Supreme Court.
  • In the same year, he appeared as senior counsel for Amazon in the Future Retail-Amazon case.
  • In 2021, Subramanium was called to the Bar of England and Wales at Gray's Inn.
  • In October 2021, Subramanium was appointed an Honorary Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

During his period as Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Subramanium is credited with introducing the All India Bar Examination, a mandatory test for law graduates to be eligible to practice in India.

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