SG keeps options open on resignation

New Delhi: Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium on Monday night kept his options open a day after he resigned protesting against appointment of a lawyer to appear for the government in a 2G related case without his consent.

Even as the government appeared to be working on how to make the second top most law officer of the country withdraw his resignation, Subramanium's action was backed by jurists, former Chief Justice of India J S Verma and eminent counsel Soli Sorabjee.

Maintaining that he resigned to keep the dignity of the post, Subramanium met President Pratibha Patil and later parried questions whether he would reconsider his decision if Law Minister M Veerappa Moily asked him to go back on his action.

Sources said Subramanium (53), who has been appearing for the government in the 2G related cases in the Supreme Court, said it was "unfair" that the Law Ministry chose to appoint Rohington Nariman as counsel for Union of India to appear in a PIL filed by an NGO against Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal without his consent.

However, sources close to Sibal chose to dismiss the objection saying that Nariman would appear on his behalf and not the government. Subramanium would continue to appear for the Telecom Ministry in the 2G cases. (MORE) PTI NAB RKS AKK

Subramanium is understood to have sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday evening and Singh reportedly counselled him not to adopt such a course of action.

"I tendered my resignation largely because of the appointment of Special Counsel (private lawyer) to represent Union of India in the 2G matter. I think without my consent it was not correct and it was an unfair decision," he told PTI.

He also said that once he had come back to the case at the "insistence of the Prime Minister", the office should have been respected.

He said such offices require "tremendous pressures, sacrifices and purity" where law officers have to walk on a "razor's edge".

Sources said during his meeting with the President, which was described as a courtesy call, Subramanium reportedly told her that he had an "excellent innings" as Solicitor General.

Commenting on his resignation, Justice Verma said as an ethical lawyer and practising highest degree of professionalism, Subramanium has done the right thing. He said a litigant has a choice of the counsel but he has to treat the counsel already engaged with "dignity".

"If he feels slighted, that is the only correct thing to do," Justice Verma said.

In his reaction Sorabjee said no self-respecting officer can continue when there is a clear loss of confidence in a lawyer. Probably he was miffed at the manner in which it was done, Sorabjee said.