Gourab Banerji

Gourab Banerji was appointed as Additional Solicitor General of India (ASG) in the Supreme Court in July 2009 and served a five-year term. During his stint as an ASG, apart from the sheer volume of income tax matters assigned to him, he successfully represented the Government of India in many landmark cases like the Republic of Italy v. Union of India, (2013) 4 SCC 721 (“the Italian Marines case) and State of Punjab v. Dalbir Singh, (2012) 3 SCC 346, where the Supreme Court struck down the mandatory death penalty under the Arms Act 1959.

In particular, the latter provided Mr Banerji an opportunity to use his expansive experience and knowledge in comparative law, as he presented the Supreme Court with the law in several countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda, Kenya and even Malawi. For this, the Supreme Court recorded its appreciation for his ‘considerable assistance’ for placing before the Court judgments from different jurisdiction on the question of mandatory capital punishment and decisions.

He has also been appointed as an amicus curiae by the Supreme Court in several matters covering a wide range of subject matters such as refugee law, service law, Supreme Court practice and procedure and arbitration. In 2011, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Narmada Bachao Andolan v. State of M.P., (2011) 12 SCC 333, sought his assistance on the permissibility of State Council of Ministers to delegate its power to a subordinate authority to amend its own decision and whether such amendment was consistent with the Rules of Business framed under Article 166 of the Constitution of India.

More recently, another three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in Government of India v. Vedanta Limited and Others (2020) 10 SCC 1, sought his assistance on the issue of whether the Malaysian courts ought to have applied Indian law i.e., the substantive law of the contract, when deciding the challenge to the award rendered by a Malaysian-seated Tribunal.

However, as per Mr Banerji, his proudest moment was when he represented the Republic of India as its sole delegate at the UNCITRAL Working Group meeting in Vienna.

In July 2014, Mr Banerji resumed his private practice and was invited to join the Essex Court Chambers as an Overseas Associate. Essex Court Chambers is one of the magic circle sets, specializing in public international law, international arbitration and commercial litigation.

He was part of the sub-committee that assisted the Law Commission in its 260th Report on India’s Model Bilateral Investment Treaty. He has contributed to the Law Commission’s 246th report on Amendments to the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. He is the Vice-Chairman of the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for India (UNCCI) i.e., one of the only three UNCITRAL National Coordination Committees across the world under the mandate of the United Nations.

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