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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Ranjit Kumar resigns as solicitor general for ‘personal reasons’

Ranjit Kumar was appointed solicitor general in June 2014 after the Modi government came to power

india Updated: Oct 20, 2017 23:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A view of Supreme Court in New Delhi, India.
A view of Supreme Court in New Delhi, India.(HT File Photo)

Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, the second-highest ranking legal officer in the country, quit his position citing personal reasons on Friday.

Kumar’s resignation letter, which was submitted to the law ministry, stated that his official responsibilities and busy schedule were leaving him with little time for his family. “The government is good to me, but I tendered my resignation due to personal reasons,” he said.

Sources said the senior advocate’s mother has been ailing for a while now, and he was struggling to take time off his official duties to attend to her medical needs.

Kumar’s resignation comes within four months of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi relinquishing the attorney general’s post on June 11. The top law official, in his letter to the central government, had said he was not keen on procuring a tenure extension. He had also cited personal reasons, besides a keen desire to resume his private practice, for his decision.

Rohatgi’s letter came nearly a week after the government notified the tenure extension of five law officials – including the attorney general and solicitor general – until further notice. He was succeeded by senior advocate KK Venugopal.

Prior to taking up the solicitor general’s job, Kumar used to handle environment-related cases in the Supreme Court. Notably, he had assisted the top court in prescribing a series of directives that eventually led to the Capital’s public transport system switching to a cleaner fuel – the compressed natural gas. His other legal contributions included playing a crucial role in a river-pollution case that the apex court took up on the basis of an HT report titled ‘And quiet flows the maili (dirty) Yamuna’, and assisting the court in a case pertaining to the relocation of polluting units from residential areas to suburban Delhi.

Kumar was appointed as the solicitor general in 2014, soon after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. An expert on constitutional laws, he represented the Centre in many high-profile cases. A known perfectionist, Kumar often took it upon himself to ensure that the government complied with court directions. Judges relied heavily on him in matters where he represented government agencies, and took for granted that their orders would be executed.

Other high-profile cases handled by Kumar included the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, where he argued for the Gujarat government, and a disproportionate assets case where he represented former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 16:50 IST

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