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Updated: July 11, 2011 02:27 IST

SG: I quit to protect dignity of my office

J. Venkatesan
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Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who resigned his post recently. File Photo.
The Hindu Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who resigned his post recently. File Photo.

I resigned only to protect the dignity of the office, he says

Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, who felt slighted by Communications Minister Kapil Sibal's decision to engage a lawyer to defend him in the Supreme Court, met President Pratibha Patil on Sunday and explained the circumstances under which he tendered his resignation.

Mr. Subramaniam, who was with the President for about 45 minutes, thanked the government for a “splendid innings.” The visit was described as a courtesy call.

The Solicitor-General told The Hindu that he felt it was not proper for the government to engage a private lawyer when he was appearing in the 2G case. “I resigned only to protect the dignity of the office.”

As per Mr. Sibal's decision, senior advocate Rohinton Nariman would represent him on Monday before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly in the wake of an affidavit filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which alleged that he favoured Reliance Telecom in the levy of penalty.

Informed sources said that though Mr. Sibal engaged Mr. Nariman only in his individual capacity, the notification for his appointment was given by the Law Ministry.

Speaking to The Hindu from Bangalore, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily had said: “I will speak to Mr. Gopal Subramaniam on this issue on my return to Delhi.” He did not elaborate.

Right thing: J.S. Verma

The former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, told The Hindu that Mr. Subramaniam had done the right thing by resigning when he felt that the government did not treat him with dignity. A competent and credible law officer, Mr. Subramaniam had reasons to feel hurt when the file (on 2G case relating to Mr. Sibal) was taken away without his consent.

When it was pointed out that already senior advocate K.K. Venugopal has been appointed to represent the CBI in the 2G case, Justice Verma said ordinarily whenever another lawyer was appointed to represent a case, the government should take the law officer into confidence. But in this case, this was not done. “It is unfortunate that good people had to leave because the government is not treating them with dignity and respect. Both Mr. Subramaniam and Mr. Nariman are very fine gentlemen and extremely good lawyers, but I feel sad that they are pitted against each other by the government, thereby demeaning the office of Solicitor-General,” Justice Verma said.

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