Born in the year 1958, in Bangalore. He completed his schooling from St. Xavier’s School, Delhi, followed by a degree in law from the prestigious Campus of the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.
Gopal Subramanium is an Indian lawyer and an international arbitrator. He served as the Solicitor General of India (2009-2011) and Additional Solicitor General of India (2005-2009). He also served as Chairman of the Bar Council of India, 2010-201. Subramanium stated his career in 1980, with Shardul S.Shroff in Delhi. During his tenure as a law officer, he was honoured with the National Law Day Award for Outstanding Jurist, presented to him in 2009 by the President of India, for his consistent professional excellence and adherence to the highest traditions of the Bar.
In 1993, he was designated a Senior Advocate (the equivalent of a Queen’s Counsel in the UK) suo motu by the Supreme Court, one of the youngest to be designated in the Supreme Court’s history.
Gopal continues to act as lead counsel in several path-breaking matters. He acted as lead counsel for Novartis AG in Novartis’ challenge before the Supreme Court to a denial to grant it an Indian patent for the cancer drug ‘Glivec’.
Gopal Subramanium has also 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). He has appeared in a number of matters in the Supreme Court and various High Court concerning arbitrability of disputes, appointment of arbitrators and challenge to arbitral awards including those arising out of defence contracts, EPC contracts and infrastructure contracts. 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 2013, Gopal 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.
Subramanium has been awarded Awarded the National Law Day Award for Outstanding Jurist by the President of India in 2009, Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa), Central University of Orissa, ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ by the St. Xavier’s School, New Delhi, “Justice P.N Bhagwati National Award” conferred by the Capital Foundation Society
Gopal Subramanium has also assisted numerous legal scholars in their own efforts and has been recognized by them for his support and guidance. For instance, his contribution was recognized by Professor Sandra Fredman, FBA in her book Human Rights Transformed: Positive Rights and Positive Duties (2008) in Chapter 5 at page 124: “This piece has been inspired and greatly assisted by Additional Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium ; …”