The last few years have witnessed Senior Advocate Harish Salve leading arguments in some of the most important and controversial cases in the country, and he was also honoured with a new feather in his cap by being appointed as the Queen's Counsel for the courts of England and Wales last year. Recently, he was awarded the ‘For the Sake of’ honour by the Rotary Club of Madras, where Salve was showered with praises by former Attorney General of India and legal legend K Parasaran and his son and Senior Advocate Mohan Parasaran, who is also a former Solicitor General of India.
Mohan Parasaran had introduced Harish Salve, calling it his ‘personal pleasure’ to introduce someone with whom he said he has had a relationship of more than 37 years. "Mr Harish Salve is a household name today and doesn’t need an introduction,” he said.
Mohan Parasaran went on to trace the initial days of Salve’s career, speaking of his 'illustrious' family, about father NKP. Salve, who was a well-known chartered accountant of that era, apart from the other roles he held, his mother Ambriti Salve, a doctor, and that law ran in his blood, with his grandfather PK Salve being a renowned lawyer.
He then opened up on the latter’s equation with senior jurists of that era like Nanabhoy Palkhivala and Soli Sorabjee. Parasaran recalled seeing a ‘bright star’ sitting in Sorabhjee’s office for the first time, when he former used to visit Sorabjee to brief him in cases like the abolition of horse racing.
Mohan Parasaran and Salve went on to know each other on a professional and personal level. "He was very close to my father, senior Parasaran, and had come home during his elevation as the Attornery General of India in 1983. My father holds him in high esteem, and had told him, ‘Harish, you will also reach the topmost positions in this profession and be even more successful than me, and that proved to be very right."
Parasaran then shared the other achievements of Salve's career like being admitted to the English bar association, the Blackstone Chambers, enjoying a 'very successful term' as Soliticor General and refusing to continue the position for another year. The former highlighted that Salve was appointed as amicus curiae and representing almost all the top industrial houses of the country, be it Reliance, Tata or Wipro and Azim Premji. Parasaran recalled appearing against Salve, and also appearing with him in some cases. He stated that he 'could not forget' their appearance in the Vodafone case, and highlighted Salve's 'beautiful representation'. Another case they fought together was in the Ambani brothers' dispute where they were up against Ram Jethmalani, and the recent 'Tata-Mistry saga.' Parasaran termed it as a distinction for Salve to represent India in the Kulbushan Jadhav case and getting relief for Jadhav.
"Mr Salve is one of the accomplished counsels and comes with solutions for his clients in the case. This award gets exemplified by going to him," Mohan Parasaran said.
93-year-old legend K Parasaran too gave a flowering tribute to Harish Salve, "It gives me immense pleasure to be a participant of this event and I cannot share my happiness to say a few words on Harish Salve, who is a close friend, and I hold him in admiration and affection. It is hard to introduce him and like Mr Mohan Parasaran said, he is a household name today, not only because he is a great lawyer, but for his contribution to the development of law, and a unique example of a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court becoming the Queen’s counsel."
"He has been rightly awarded for his public service, being honoured with the Padma Bhushan," he added.
K Parasaran stated that it was not just good knowledge, but the 'capacity to articulate' that made Harish Salve stand out. "Harish had a wonderful capacity of articulation. His arguments are so engaging that everyone follows."
Referring to Salve, K Parasaran recalled how in 1980, he had seen a 'young man walking with brilliance', before becoming very dear to him. The former Attorney General recalled Salve appearing against him and with him in many cases, one being the Assam Rifles district. K Parasaran recalled Salve arguing 'brilliantly' that contributed to his favourable verdicts.
Like Mohan Parasaran said, K Parasaran was happy about his 'prophecy' turning out to be true that he would take up the position he held then, the Solicitor General of India, and other responsibilities. K Parasaran highlighted Salve's advantage of being both, CA and a lawyer, and that ' there was no branch of law that he has not ventured into,' underlining his arguments in administrative law, taxation law and more. K Parasaran also stated that when they appeared together, Salve would argue so 'succinctly', that he would not have much to supplement the argument. Referring to Salve's age of 65, Parasaran Sr added that there was a 'long way to go' for him and that he will win more honours. Highlighting his representation for India, he even mentioned a Tamil couplet on a noble person's movements lasting for a lifetime, recalling Salve coming all the way to Delhi to wish him for his milestone.
Salve attended the event from London and said, "I am overwhelmed at this moment and I find myself at a loss when I see Parasaran sir sitting there." He stated that irrespective of one's efforts, the 'fruits come from heaven'. "I have been blessed by God, to have gurus like Palkhivala, Sorabjee and Parasaran sir. Not just law, I learnt ethics, principles and value system from them."
Recalling an interesting anecdote, Salve said, "I remember Parasaran sahab's advice, 'Never charge a fee that will put you under the pressure of performance.' In today’s age, where lawyers charge fancy fees, I cannot share how important this advice has been. People ask me how I have a smile on my face while dealing with most complex, controversial cases, little do they know that this secret that Parasaran sahab had shared with me, has stood me in such good stead."
Salve also remembered fighting the bearer bonds case against Attorney General LN Sinha and Sr Parasaran, and termed their collaboration as 'petrifying' for him, so much so that he had come with a fever for the arguments on the second day. "Then came the case that Parasaran sir spoke about, the Assam Rifles, where he waited outside, put his arm around me and blessed me. The one thing I can never fall short of and what I can not get enough is a lot is Parasaran sir's blessings, which I have received in abundance," Salve said.