The theory of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary is one of the backbones of our constitution. And yet, you can easily point out to multiple cases where the two organs of the constitution have overlapped and encroached into each other’s territory. The latest unfortunate incident to join this list is Gopal Subramanian’s self withdrawal of his Supreme Court judgeship candidature.
What is intriguing about this case is the media attention that it has managed to garner considering that the process of selection and recommendation of names for the post of Supreme Court judge is kept classified. One of the reasons of this selection cycle coming into the attention was that out of the four names recommended to the Centre by the Supreme Court collegium, two were senior advocates. While the other three names to be recommended to the Centre, Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Adarsh Kumar Goel, were given the final nod, the candidature of Gopal Subramanian was halted on the basis of a negative report given by the CBI and IB.
While the newly appointed Government has maintained that the basis of this negative report is the fact that his ‘name’ was discussed in the Radia leak tapes, it remains an open secret that Subramanian has been an eye sore to the BJP ever since he appeared as the amicus in the Sohrabuddin, Tulsiram Prajapati and Kauser Bi case involving the senior BJP leader, Amit Shah. One of the most startling facts that weaken the Government’s argument is that Subramanian’s name was mentioned in the taped conversations as an ‘upright’ officer who wouldn’t bend. In a recent interview to a private news channel, Subramanian said “Some higher ups in the government did indicate to me, that some people had a problem with my role as the amicus curie in the Sohrabuddin case.”
Another factor that makes this case interesting is the timing of these events. The Supreme Court is on a six week annual summer holiday which started in the second week of May. It is learnt that the Chief Justice was not on duty when the file having the proposed names was sent back by the Government. These co-incidents are enough to raise anyone’s eye-brow.
Subramanian has been a part of several key cases in the past as the Solicitor General in the UPA Government, including the 2G case where he played a critical role in the prosecution of A Raja. He was one of the Solicitor Generals of India to resign citing the growing interference of the government during the UPA regime. People close to him have always maintained that he boasts of an uncompromising work ethic and impeccable integrity. He was also quoted saying “Though I bear no personal animus against Mr Shah, I’ve never said anything personal against him; I am not at all apologetic about my role as the Amicus Curie in that case. If I am paying the price for the manner in which I pursued the case, I don’t not regret it all, and I am willing to pay the price 150 times.”
After the unprecedented public support gained by the BJP in these general elections, the party would do well to rise above the ghosts of the past and lead the country in a manner that the
common man expects.