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When Gopal Subramanium Was Ticked Off by Justice Leila Seth

The former law officer was one of the members of the anti-rape law committee, which was formed to suggest changes in the criminal law following the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:August 10, 2017, 10:40 AM IST
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When Gopal Subramanium Was Ticked Off by Justice Leila Seth
File photo of former Solicitor General and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium.
New Delhi: “I am the sole survivor of this committee.” This is how former Solicitor General and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium described himself in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

He was called to the front row by a bench, comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, as it heard a PIL relating to rape laws.

The former law officer was one of the members of the anti-rape law committee, which was formed to suggest changes in the criminal law following the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.

It was headed by former Chief Justice of India JS Verma and former Delhi High Court judge Leila Seth. While Justice Verma died in April 2013, Seth passed away in May this year.

Arguing for the PIL, when advocate Gaurav Agrawal repeatedly referred to the extensive research done by this committee in drawing up recommendations, Justice Lokur found Subramanium sitting in the second row, right behind Agrawal.

"He is here…right behind you. Why do you speak in the past tense about what the committee did? We can ask for his views right now," the judge told Agrawal.

Subramanium stood up. "I am the sole survivor of this committee, my lord," responded the veteran lawyer, referring to the fact that Verma and Seth were no more.

He then went on to narrate how serious was the task before the trio and that they did not take even a day off.

"Mrs Seth was not keeping well even at the time but she wouldn't miss even a single meeting of the committee. It was all for a greater public cause and we were indebted that we had this opportunity. We did our best," said Subramanium.

He further recalled how he was often "ticked off" by Seth for "inappropriate and imperfect" use of English language in the draft report of the committee.

"I must also tell my lordship that many corrections in English had to be carried out. Mrs Seth won't let it pass otherwise. And I was often ticked off by her for what she used to call inappropriate and imperfect use of the language," Subramanium recalled.

Many of the recommendations by this committee were extracted in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, providing for a more stringent legal regime to deal with cases of sexual assault.
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