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Somerville College honours Gopal Subramanium with Foundation Fellowship

14th October 2019

The distinguished jurist Gopal Subramanium, a former Solicitor General of India and a Senior Advocate of the country’s Supreme Court, has been elected a Foundation Fellow of Somerville College.

The Fellowship is the highest honour conferred by the College for philanthropy.

Mr Subramanium is a generous benefactor of the College, supporting the postgraduate studies of outstanding students from India and helping to strengthen the flourishing ties between Somerville and the Indian subcontinent.

He has endowed the Gopal Subramanium Scholarships (in honour of his teacher His Holiness Shri. Bharati Tirtha) the first of which is currently held by Aradhana Vadekkethil (2017, Jurisprudence), and funds postgraduate study of Indian legal policy. Ms Vadekkethil’s research focuses on rape adjudication and prosecution in India.

Mr Subramanium also supported the college choir’s tour of India in December 2018, which featured concerts and workshops with disadvantaged children in Goa and Mumbai.

Somerville College hosts the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, which conducts research into sustainable development challenges in India, with implications for the wider world.

Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College, said: “We are delighted to honour Gopal Subramanium, who is a great friend and supporter of Somerville. His presence at Somerville as a Foundation Fellow is a matter of great pride to us given both his eminence and erudition and we look forward to benefitting from this association and presence at Oxford.

“His backing will enhance the work of the OICSD, enabling us to fund the studies of exceptional scholars and tackle some of the biggest environmental and social questions facing the world.”

Mr Subramanium said: “The focus of my life has been the study and practice of the law, but the law – rich as it is – cannot by itself provide solutions to the challenges we face. The interdisciplinary environment of Somerville provides a fertile environment for research across boundaries.

“I am honoured that through this Foundation Fellowship and the new scholarship, I will be able to support and encourage enquiry without prejudice.

“Baroness Royall is a great friend of India. I am sure that the ties between Oxford and India, and the exchange of ideas between us, will only become stronger.

“I must acknowledge the readiness of the Central Government in India and the Reserve Bank of India to support this honest endeavour. I am grateful to all including the wise teachers, temporal and metaphysical under whom I studied and Geeta my wife, without whose unstinted sharing of the dream, this would not have happened.”

Gopal Subramanium was born in 1958 in Bangalore, and studied law at the University of Delhi. He was designated a Senior Advocate in 1993 along with Justice R.F. Nariman on the same day by the Supreme Court in a unique suo-motu designation. He was the youngest lawyer to be designated a Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court and has appeared as lead counsel in a number of landmark cases.

Gopal Subramanium receives a certificate of his Fellowship from Principal Jan Royall while standing on the quadrangle

Jan Royall presents Gopal Subramanium with his Foundation Fellowship. Photo (c) John Cairns

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