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Goolam Vahanvati

28 May 2014

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran have tendered their resignations as is customary on change of government, reported the PTI. The AG’s and the SG’s tenures are conventionally co-terminus with the term of the existing government.

According to speculation senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi are contenders for the post of AG, while Ranjit Kumar is frontrunner for the SG’s post.

Vahanvati – the first Muslim to become the top law officer of the country - was appointed AG in 2009, after being SG for five years during the UPA-I’s rule.

Son of former AG K Parasaran, Parasaran was appointed SG after senior advocate Rohinton Nariman resigned mid-tenure from the post. He was appointed ASG by UPA-I in 2004.

29 January 2014

The names of senior advocates Fali S Nariman, K K Venugopal, Harish Salve and attorney general Goolam Vahanvati have been forwarded in the category of “eminent jurist” to the Lokpal selection panel, alongside former attorney generals Soli Sorabjee and K Parasaran.

They will be discussed in a meeting scheduled for 3 February, reported the Indian Express:

The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50 per cent shall be judicial members and the rest shall be from among SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women. The selection committee has to have Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. A fifth member of the selection committee for selection of Lokpal has to be nominated under the category of “eminent jurist”. These four members will co-opt the fifth member under this category. So far, names of six jurists have been doing the rounds for selection as the fifth member.

19 December 2013

Ganguly The way will soon be clear for the President to ask for an inquiry into sex harassment allegations against the ex-judge. Question is, how, if at all, would it stick under law?

19 December 2013

President of IndiaAs Goolam Vahanvati will submit a legal opinion by tomorrow on the presidential reference to remove AK Ganguly from the WBHRC, Legally India has seen a copy of the inquiry’s report, which is not confidential anymore.

25 September 2013

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati apologises to SC bench headed by Justice RM Lodha for apparent annoyance when unable to respond properly to Coalgate grilling (“It’s very difficult. It is a tremendous strain. I cannot carry everything in my head. Once I argue on one aspect, another question arises on another aspect. How would I go ahead”).

Lodha good-naturedly attributed it to “heat and weather”. [The Hindu]

21 May 2013

No Reliance on reportage: Anil Ambani’s ADAG threatened legal action against monthly magazine Caravan while they were reporting their 11,000-word profile on attorney general Goolam Vahanvati. Delhi law firm Agarwal & Associates acted for ADAG, The Hoot published the deets.

Feel me once, shame on you: iGate chief Phaneesh Murthy sacked for sexual harassment allegation after improper relationship with subordinate and investigation by outside counsel. At his former workplace, Infosys, Murthy was also accused of harassment, which was settled for $3m [Mint]

IPL PIL: A Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed yesterday in the Supreme Court asking for a special investigation team (SIT) probe into cricketing tournament Indian Premiere League’s (IPL) irregularities, including spot fixing. The SC dismissed the PIL giving time to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to complete its investigation within 1CC5 days [PTI/ESPN Cric Info]

CCI all grown up: At the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) annual day yesterday finance minister P Chidambaram discussed the realistic possibility of the CCI soon being called upon to override decisions of other regulators [Business Today]

DoT demands promotion: The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will invite proposals from various ministries by 9 June to give more power, resources and staff to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), according to an internal DoT memo seen by Mint

08 May 2013

Snoopers without charter: The government’s “central monitoring system” is set to allow the National Investigation Agency, tax authorities and possibly others to eavesdrop on “every byte of communication” in India, including online chats, phone calls, SMSes and presumably more, reports [Times of India].

Parrot CBI on coals: Slamming attorney general Goolam Vahanvati and additional solicitor general Harin Rawal’s interference in he CBI’s coal scam report, the SC today said: “It's a sordid saga that there are many masters and one parrot” [DNA India]

UPSC ranked: Five NUJS Kolkata grads, two NLIU Bhopal grads and one NLU Jodhpur grad cleared the UPSC civil services mains, the oldest among them having graduated in 2007 [Bar & Bench]

HNLU Androidly: Gyancentral interviews HNLU Raipur alum Apurva Sukant on developing the wristwatch-sized device Androidly that combines all the applications of a smartphone [Gyan Central]

Stewardess v AI sequel: Allegedly overweight Air India flight attendant Salome Singsit approaches Supreme Court against her unfair dismissal through NUJS 2008-batch advocate Ashwarya Sinha (reprising Delhi HC role). SC issues show cause notice to the airline [Firstpost]

Meditating on mediation: Senior advocate Sriram Panchu replies on behalf of the Association of Indian Mediators to senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s 1 May Hindu article disparaging alternate dispute resolution in comparison to litigation [Hindu]

Atrocious records: Pune district court’s special court for crimes of atrocities against women has received 1,200 cases in the three months since its inception [DNA]

Gaming Haryana: Haryana’s second-highest law officer additional advocate general Manish Bansal, son of railway minister Pawan Bansal, was not only appointed to his present post with less professional experience than is the norm, but also continued to hold director positions in various companies after his appointment [TOI]

How to justify your fees: “When a Client gives an example that some lawyers are charging 15% lesser than you, please tell him that he has not done his research, he can very well find people who are charging 50% lesser” [DK Mahant]

30 April 2013

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Harin Raval has been asked to resign after he accused attorney general (AG) Goolam Vahanvati of trying to influence the CBI report on the coal blocks allocation scam and of misleading the Supreme Court, in a letter addressed to Vahanvati and marked to law minister Ashwini Kumar.

Senior advocate UU Lalit will replace Vahanvati in representing the centre in the SC, according to Zee News’s sources.

Raval, who is representing the CBI in court, wrote:

… on 6th March, 2013, while I was in Court, I received a message from your end, asking me to see the Law Minister at 12.30 with the Status Report. The message received by me was forwarded to the Joint Director, CBI by me. You were already present there when I reached slightly late. You would also kindly recall that at the said meeting, during the course of discussions, the draft of only one of Status Report of one of the preliminary inquiries was shown to the Hon'ble Law Minister and was perused by him as well as by you. Certain suggestions were made, including by you, to the CBI, some of which were accepted. No suggestions emanated from me

After Raval had earlier submitted in court that the CBI report had not been vetted by anyone in the political executive, CBI director submitted a personal affidavit asserting that the report had been shared with Kumar and prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Raval said he was being made a “scapegoat”.

Yesterday the Caravan in a feature dissected Vahanvati's allegedly politicised role as AG and whether he has succumbed to pressures from the top.

Read full letter via NDTV

29 April 2013

Is Goolam Vahanvati, the Union Government’s top lawyer as attorney general, succumbing to pressures from the top and India Inc. in this increasingly politicised role, asked The Caravan in a typically thoroughly-reported feature.

22 January 2013

Proclaimed offender and Andhra Pradesh High Court (AP HC) judge N Venkata Ramana may continue as judge even after his recommended removal by the Chief Justice of India, if the Parliament does not initiate his removal, attorney general GE Vahanvati told the Supreme Court.

An arson case was filed against Venkata Ramana prior to his appointment at the AP HC, and he was declared a proclaimed offender. A petitioner, through senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, approached the SC for quashing his appointment, in light of the pending criminal case against him.

Vahanvati told a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai that once a Judge has been appointed, the parliament is the sole authority to initiate his removal as:

The Constitution makers were clear that Judges of higher judiciary needed to be protected to uphold the higher principle of judicial independence.

Removal is the only process recognized by the Constitution to maintain independence of judiciary. Hard cases and harsh facts involving a particular person make no difference to the higher principle.

Venkata Ramana’s name was dropped twice from being considered by the collegium of judges appointing high court justices. It was on erstwhile law minister Ram Jethmalani’s insistence that the collegium was persuaded to reconsider his name. [TOI]

Legally India Supreme Court Postcard writer Courtwitness tweeted: “An appointment which is invalid (say eligibility criteria like citizenship found not fulfilled) can always be quashed by courts. Removal is only for valid appointment upon finding of "misbehaviour". A. 124 for SC/217 for HC judges.”

27 September 2012

Central government prepares to file for review of the Supreme Court's 13 September judgment that said that each RTI information commission should also be staffed by an HC or SC judge [BS]

CIC, none of whose commissioners have a judicial background, had stopped functioning after the judgment and had sought the opinion of attorney general Goolam Vahanvati on various questions of interpretation left unanswered by the court.

18 October 2010

Attorney General of India Goolam Vahanvati was conflicted out of providing the government with a legal opinion on the Vedanta-Cairns deal because his son AZB & Partners Mumbai partner Essaji Vahanvati had worked on the deal, according to a report in the Daily Pioneer today.

12 June 2009

AZB_-_ZiaModyFormer Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati was appointed Attorney-General of India on Monday (8 June), giving AZB & Partners the second close family connection in that post.