Aryama Sundaram

India’s most expensive senior advocates – profiled, briefly

India Today dockets the lives and times of India’s top eight senior advocates. All of them keep expensive hobbies and none of them bill below Rs 5 lakh – per appearance.

The oldest active lawyer in India, Ram Jethmalani: Aged 90, and enrolled at the bar as the youngest member at age 18, he maintains an envy-invoking Badminton court in his Lutyen’s Delhi bungalow and bills above Rs 40 lakh per matter.

The former law minister recently defended the Gujarat government in the 2002 riots, Baba Ramdev in the case of police lathicharge at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds, the 2G accused, and the Ansals in Delhi’s Uphaar cinema tragedy.

The Philanthropist, KTS Tulsi: The former solicitor general is a vintage-car collector, and can be roped in for Rs 5 lakh per appearance or for free, depending on the cause.

The cause has driven him to oppose the Ansals in Uphaar, refuse to defend the Gujarat state government at the SC after chief minister Narendra Modi justified the Sohrabuddin encounter, and be a special prosecutor in the Punjab terror attacks, during the peak of his career as defense counsel.

The most expensive, Harish Salve: Pianist, Bentley-enthusiast, jazz music lover, and Apple (the company) loyalist, Salve minted Rs 4.5 lakh per appearance until his stakes touched the pinnacle after his recent Rs11,000 crore Vodafone win in the SC.

Once Soli Sorabjee’s junior, anybody who matters in corporate India was (at least) once the former solicitor general’s client – including the Ambani borthers, Keshav Mahindra, Ratan Tata.

But he has fought free too, namely, amicus curiae in the Gujarat riots case and in the environment matters heard by the green bench of the SC. He also appeared against the accused in Uphaar.

The king of miscellaneous times, Mukul Rohatgi: Known for lung power, which he uses during arguments as well as for bustling between courtrooms on miscellaneous days with his extra-heavy load of matters, Rohatgi is a supercar collector, Atlas Shrugged reader, traveller and art-connoisseur.

The former additional solicitor general has been a favourite with politicians including Varun Gandhi and Jayalalitha, and the commonwealth scam accused.

The corporate lawyer, Aryama Sundaram: Plays golf, represents cricket, offers cigars.

The BCCI is a regular client while FICCI was a client in the 2G presidential reference.

The constitutional law expert, PP Rao: “Even judges cannot ignore Rao's interpretations”, writes India Today about the former SCBA president whom the SC looks to despite its own law officers – for instance in the 2G presidential reference, or in the 1992 president’s rule imposition post Babri Masjid.

Controversy’s king, Gopal Subramanium: The former solicitor general of India held the government’s hand through the Kasab trial, the 1993 Bombay blasts, and the recent petition against the grand prix formula 1 race.

The Sherwani-clad, Sushil Kumar: The only Sherwani-clad lawyer in the Supreme Court corridors, he’s seen as the “only one” who can always manage making “holes in the prosecution”.

His clientele – Parliament attacker Mohammed Afzal guru, 2G accused A Raja and Kanimozhi, CWG scam accused Suresh Kalmadi, terrorist Abdul Naseer Maurany and murder-convicted restaurateur P Rajagopal.

“When it comes to final arguments on merits, one needs Kumar to get an acquittal”, claim juniors. [India Today]

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