Legal Luminaries

Gopal Subramanium

One of the most talented jurists that India has produced in recent times, Gopal Subramanium commenced his legal practice in 1980 in the Supreme Court of India under the guidance of Soli J. Sorabjee, eminent jurist and former Attorney General for India. In 1993, Subramanium was designated a Senior Advocate suo moto by the Supreme Court, one of the youngest to be so designated in the Supreme Court’s history. Between 2005 and 2009, he held the office of Additional Solicitor General of India and subsequently served as the Solicitor General of India from 2009 to 2011. During his tenure as Solicitor General, he also served as the Chairman of the Bar Council of India.

Subramanium has appeared as Counsel in a wide range of matters involving complex questions of Constitutional and Criminal Law, such as the Justice J.S. Verma Commission instituted to inquire into security lapses leading to the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi; as Prosecuting Counsel for the CBI, in the trial of persons accused in the bomb blasts of Mumbai; as Counsel to the Justice K. Venkataswamy Commission to inquire into sting operations carried out by a news publication to expose corruption in defence procurement transactions; as Special Public Prosecutor in the prosecution of the accused in the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001; and also in the prosecution of Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist in the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 2008.

He was a member of the Justice Verma Committee in 2013 to recommend amendments to Criminal Laws to ensure safety and dignity of women and children.

For his consistent professional excellence and adherence to the highest traditions of the Bar he was honoured with the National Law Day Award for Outstanding Jurist by the President of India in 2009.

In addition, Gopal Subramanium also has extensive experience in domestic and international arbitration. He is an Associate Member of the prestigious 3 Verulam Buildings barristers chambers of London.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Delhi and, in 2013, was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law by the Central University of Orissa for his contribution to the development of law in India.

An only child, the best times in Gopal’s lonely childhood were spent with Spotty, his fox terrier, and in listening to cricket commentary. A fervent cricket enthusiast, he cannot appreciate the quick and fast pace of the Indian Premier League. For him the older and longer version of the game remains the real test of cricketing skills.

His career in Law which boasts of heady accomplishments does not make him forget his passion for English Literature. In fact, had his mother not persuaded him to become a lawyer, Gopal Subramanium may well have been teaching the finer nuances of Shakespearean verse instead of being part of high-voltage historic litigations. Even today he writes editorials whenever he feels “a point of view has to be put in public space”. His passion also extends to reading philosophy and religion and studying human psychology.

Subramanium attributes his remarkable accomplishments to his steadfast wife, Geeta, who is the anchor of the family, and shoulders the responsibility of supervising both their home and Subramanium’s office, leaving him at liberty to devote his time to complex matters of law. She is a history scholar keenly interested in ancient world architecture and classical art. She is also a Vaastu and interiors consultant, a freelance travel writer and an avid reader.

They share a common passion for English Literature and for exploring different parts of the world.

Both their children are lawyers. Daughter, Gauri, graduated from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, and completed her LL.M. from Cornell University, USA. Their son, Giriraj, graduated from National Law University, Jodhpur, and completed his LL.M. from New York University. Both are currently practising in the Supreme Court. Gauri’s husband, Chinmoy Sharma, practices in the Supreme Court and High Courts across the country.

We acknowledge “100 Legal Luminaries of India” by Lalit Bhasin (Lexis). The multicolour coffee table book printed on art paper in Hardbound is priced at ` 5995/- and is available at Universal Book Traders, C-27, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001.

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