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Subramanium’s solicitor general resignation accepted; BCI position remains uncertain

The government has accepted solicitor general Gopal Subramanium’s resignation yesterday. Subramanium’s continuing chairmanship of the Bar Council of India (BCI) remains uncertain.

The Hindu and other papers reported that prime minister Manmohan Singh accepted Subramanium’s resignation who also confirmed the development but declined to comment further.

Subramanium tendered his resignation last Saturday, ostensibly over the government appointing senior counsel Rohinton Nariman to represent minister Kapil Sibal in relation to the 2G matter over Subramanium.

The wording of the Advocates Act 1961 makes it unlikely that Subramanium will be able to continue as BCI chairman, because he was appointed as an ex officio member of the BCI by virtue of his holding the post of solicitor general.

Subramanium did not respond to a Legally India email seeking a comment on his future at the BCI at the time of going to press.

The Hindu reported:

Sources told The Hindu that the government had taken a serious view of his defiance, going against the advice of the former Law Minister, Veerappa Moily, asking him to continue and not do anything in haste. It was pointed out that Mr. Moily met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday evening to discuss Mr. Subramaniam's resignation and tried to persuade him to take back the resignation.

The government was also not happy over Mr. Subramaniam rushing to meet President Pratibha Patil on the ground that it was against discipline and protocol to be followed by a senior law officer. Recent Supreme Court judgments on black money in which the court directed constitution of a special investigation team and the one declaring appointment of Special Police Officers (Salwa Judum) as unconstitutional were seen as a last straw for the exit of Mr. Subramaniam.

Mr. Subramaniam had defended his action, asserting that he had taken the step to protect the dignity and majesty of the office of the Solicitor General.

In late 2010 the Indian Express had reported tensions between the law ministry and Subramanium, seeking his resignation as BCI chairman because of a perceived conflict between the role and the government’s plan to create new legal profession and education regulators.

New law minister Salman Khursheed was appointed earlier this week to replace Veerappa Moily.

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