Harish Salve

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Role in arbitration (India and Pakistan), 2003-17

Dhananjay Mahapatra, In 2004, UPA replaced Salve with Pak's ICJ lawyer for Enron arbitration, May 21, 2017: The Times of India


In 2003, India was forced to face arbitration at an international tribunal initiated by Enron.

Harish Salve was retained as India’s counsel.

However, there was a sudden change of decision and the law firm was informed to hire Khawar Qureshi.

There is a bit of history to the hyped fight between Harish Salve (L) and Khawar Qureshi.There is a bit of history to the hyped fight between Harish Salve (L) and Khawar Qureshi.

There is a bit of history to the hyped fight between two legal titans — Harish Salve+ for India and Khawar Qureshi for Pakistan — in ICJ on May 15 in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case+ .

Salve's arguments for India on May 15 had a connect with the judges on ICJ bench, which unanimously rejected Qureshi's arguments to stall India's attempts to save Jadhav from possible execution.

To mat Qureshi, Salve had charged India Re 1+ . More than 15 years ago, there was a curious turn to events when India was forced to face arbitration at an international tribunal in the US initiated by Enron over the closure of Dabhol power project.

Millions of dollars were at stake for India. Salve, who had quit as solicitor general of India in November 2002, was retained as India's counsel at the arbitration tribunal. In 2004, the UPA government came to power as also a new team of law officers headed by attorney general Milon Banerjee. To manage the highstake arbitration over Dabhol against Enron, the government chose Fox and Mandal law firm.

Union government sources said Salve was sounded out whether he would continue as India's counsel in the arbitration proceedings. Salve confirmed and informed the new government that he would continue to charge a concessional fee of Rs one lakh per day's hearing in the US-based tribunal.

However, all of a sudden there was a change of decision and Fox and Mandal was informed to hire Khawar Qureshi. India lost both ways, the case to Enron and a lot of money that was paid to Qureshi as legal fees.

Salve confirmed to TOI that he had agreed to conduct the case for India in the tribunal despite change of government. "It was a professional decision to defend India in the tribunal. But, I learnt from media reports later that Qureshi was hired and I could become his deputy. That was not what I was told by the government. So I had decided to keep away wishing India the best."

Salve refused to get drawn any further into the controver sy steadfastly refusing to divulge any more details of how he was replaced by Qureshi in 2004.

An article from 2004 in 'The Lawyer', states that Serle Court chambers' lawyer Khawar Qureshi had been appointed as counsel for the government of India. A host of UK firms had been invited to take India's case. A spokesperson from the previous law firm had said: "Following the appointment of the new attorney general, the entire legal team, including the Indian advisers, was replaced."

2020: named Queen’s counsel for England & Wales

NAOMI CANTON, January 19, 2020: The Times of India

LONDON: India’s former solicitor general Harish Salve — who charged Re 1 for representing India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case — has been appointed as Queen’s Counsel (QC) for the courts of England and Wales.

Salve, who was admitted to the Bar in England & Wales in 2013, featured in the list of silk appointments released by the UK Ministry of Justice on January 13.

The 63-year-old, who was born in Nagpur and studied law at Nagpur University, will formally take silk on March 16 at a ceremony in Westminster Hall after which he will take an oath in the UK High Court.

Salve was designated as Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court in 1992. He joined Blackstone Chambers in 2013 and now lives in London.

“The recognition of an English QC means that now I am recognised of the same stature in both jurisdictions. I have been working here for quite a few years and decided let’s give it a shot. I felt delighted when I found out. You have to fill in a form, give all the work you have done for three years and there is an interview,” Salve said. “This definitely helps me in the UK as once you are recognised as a UK QC, then people can have faith in you. The title of QC is recognised all over the world. People know you have to be of a particular class to be recognised by the English system as a QC, so it gives you that kind of stature. Otherwise, how does a client in the Middle East or Malaysia know you are a good lawyer? I am given to understand there is no other Indian citizen practising in both countries who is a QC, but I am not sure, as that would require a lot of research,” he added.

“I still practise in India but I am mostly in London nowadays. Now, I will work in the English courts more often,” said Salve, who recently won a case for India against Pakistan in the London High Court over Rs 324 crore (£35m) stashed away in a UK bank account since Partition.

“I was a junior barrister in England from 2013 when I enrolled. Now, I will wear the same dress I wear in India — Indian silk. It’s a different kind of jacket which comes up to your waist and the gown is different. QC is an appointment by the Queen but she won’t show up on March 16th — it is most likely to be the Lord Chancellor,” he said.

Salve said whilst Jadhav’s case in the International Court of Justice — which led to Jadhav’s death penalty getting stayed and him being guaranteed a fair trial — is one of the cases he is most proud of. “I have done a lot of bilateral investment treaty arbitrations and a lot of international commercial arbitrations,” he said.

“Jadhav is just one of the things on my CV. There is the Vodafone bilateral investment treaty case, the Vedanta investment bilateral treaty case and so on. I am enjoying my international practice. The laws are pretty much the same. One just has to prepare more into the nuances of each jurisdiction,” Salve said, adding extradition cases would interest him. “I can’t appear in the Vijay Mallya case as he has been my client,” the sexagenarian said.

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