Former solicitor general and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium on Wednesday withdrew his consent to be appointed as a Supreme Court judge claiming that the present government has indulged in "digging dirt against him."
The Supreme Court collegium had sent the names of Subramanium and Rohington Nariman from the bar and two high court chief justices — Arun Misra from Calcutta and Adarsh Kumar Goel from Orissa — to the UPA government in the first week of May for the posts of Supreme Court judges. The Narendra Modi government came to power in the second week of May, and recently cited adverse inputs from the CBI report against Subramanium for his alleged meeting with a lawyer of 2G scam accused and former telecom minister A Raja. In another reference, it pointed to his alleged link to corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, whose phone conversations with industrialists, politicians and journalists are under CBI investigation.
However, the 56-year-old former law officer has held that it must be PM Modi's independent decision not to have him as a judge in the apex court because he appeared against the state of Gujarat in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case at a time when Modi was the state's chief minister; Modi ruled the state from 2001 until he became prime minister last month.
"Despite the IB report in my favour, the law ministry has directed the agency (CBI) to dig out dirt against me," Subramanium wrote to Chief Justice of India RM Lodha in a letter. "There is trust deficit. I cannot begin my career as judge with trust deficit. I failed in my judgment...I did not anticipate any opposition from this government."
Expressing displeasure over the development, former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah said: "Although the government has the right to express its opinion, it was not fair. This development is not good for the healthy growth of any institution in the country."
In his letter, Subramanium cited his 34 years of legal practice in the country's top court and stated that both the IB and CBI were his clients. Pointing out that the segregation of his name from others is against the procedure, Subramanium said, "The segregation of my name was without the consent of CJI and which is against the independence of judiciary".