“Several quixotic developments which were beyond my control and destiny ultimately landed me into becoming a lawyer”

Mohan Parasaran

In February 2013, Mohan Parasaran was appointed the Solicitor General of India. Previously he held the post of Additional Solicitor General of India for nine years...

In 2012, he resigned from the post of Additional Solicitor General but the resignation was not accepted by the government. He was designated Senior Advocate in 2002.

Legal Era gets in exclusive conversation with renowned a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India Mohan Parasaran about his illustrious career spanning nearly for decades.

Q1. You wanted to be an Engineer but you landed in a black coat. Share with us your journey of being a lawyer.

Several quixotic developments which were beyond my control and destiny ultimately landed me into becoming a lawyer. I was in fact, indeed, fascinated to do either Medicine or Engineering, my first preference being Medicine. I had cleared the Joint Entrance Examination of the IIT but tragically declared failed in my final year 11th standard CBSE Examination. I couldn’t believe that but possibly thought my Tamil could’ve played the spoiler. Therefore, with acute embarrassment I skipped the personal interview at the IIT two days after the publication of CBSE results, which in those days were pasted with the candidates’ registration number at the respective ShastriBhavans. The mark-sheets would arrive 3-4 days thereafter. I was working on various permutations and combinations including pursuing courses like Diploma in Commerce and clearing the supplementary examinations of the CBSE and planned to be in hideout till things became better, being generally cursed by the women folk in the family for my ‘taken-for-granted’ approach. I was informed that mark-sheets had reached the school but was dis-inclined to go to school the same day. On gaining courage later in the afternoon, I decided to stealthily reach the school, secure the mark-sheet and make good escape. However, at the street corner of the school, my Maths teacher, Mr. Krishnamurthi hugged and congratulated me for having come 2nd in the school scoring 598 out of 750 marks and also telling me about the unfortunate clerical mistake that had occurred in the publication of the result with my registration number getting mixed up with another dear friend who was yet to recover from the shock of having secured a first class. Possibly both of us reached normalcy and the journey began. I made frantic attempts to get into IIT. However IIT agreed to sympathetically offer admission either at Kharagpur or Varanasi with a possibility of transfer to Madras in the 2nd year to the subject of Mechanical Engineering, which I had opted for. I couldn’t get a medical seat as seats were few and being a member of the forward community I had to virtually secure almost 96% in CBSE which was impossibility then. I had managed to gain admission in BDS Course but my family opposed joining that course.

In the midst of all this confusion, my maternal grandfather, also a criminal lawyer and one of my uncles, a lawyer from the Mofussil, as well persuaded me to join BA Economics and remain in Chennai itself and thereafter pursue law. The grandparents of those days did not want their pet grandson to leave Chennai to go to the northern parts of India and persuaded my parents as well thus completely changing my course of life. The family astrologer also had a good amount role.

Rest are matters of fact. After completing BA Economics I joined law at the Campus Law Centre, Delhi University and thereafter completed LLM from Cambridge University and enrolled at the bar on the 31st August 1984.

Q2. Share with us your work which spans a wide canvas in 30 years as a lawyer. Highlight the landmark cases especially where you represented the Government of India.

i. Successfully defended the constitutional validity of the MPLADS scheme in the Writ Petition challenging the same.

ii. Appeared in the case for Zee TV and argued that BCCI is ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution. The Judgment was closely divided at 3:2 and the Court observed that at the appropriate stage BCCI may be declared ‘State’, and I think possibly that stage has reached now.

iii. Appeared in the PILs filed by the PUCL where the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is monitoring various welfare schemes concerning food security including PDS and night shelters.

iv. Successfully defended the rights of tribals in the case of Orissa Mining Corporation v. Union of India popularly known as the Vedanta Case.

v. Also appeared in the case before the Hon’ble Supreme Court relating to High Security Number Plates in Cars/Vehicles.

vi.Appeared in International Taxation matters including the levy of tax against multi-national Vodafone, Sanofi, Idea Cellular and others involving intricate issues such as transfer pricing.

vii. Appeared on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Dispute between the Ambani Brothers with regard to the KGD6 oil field.

viii. Successfully defended the Union of India before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in establishment of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

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