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Kapil Sibal
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Assumed office
5 July 2016
Preceded bySatish Sharma, INC
ConstituencyUttar Pradesh[1]
Minister of Communications and Information Technology
In office
19 January 2011 – 26 May 2014
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byManmohan Singh
Succeeded byRavi Shankar Prasad
Minister of Human Resource Development
In office
29 May 2009 – 29 October 2012
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byArjun Singh
Succeeded byPallam Raju
Minister of Science and Technology
In office
23 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byVijay Goel
Succeeded byPawan Kumar Bansal
Minister of Earth Sciences
In office
29 January 2006 – 22 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byVijay Goel
Succeeded byPawan Kumar Bansal
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
10 May 2004 – 16 May 2014
Preceded byVijay Goel
Succeeded byHarsh Vardhan
ConstituencyChandni Chowk, Delhi
Minister of Law and Justice
In office
11 May 2013 – 26 May 2014
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byAshwani Kumar
Succeeded byRavi Shankar Prasad
Personal details
Born (1948-08-08) 8 August 1948 (age 73)
Jalandhar, East Punjab, India
Political partyIndian National Congress
Spouse(s)Nina Sibal (1973–2000)
Promila Sibal
Children2 sons
Alma materUniversity of Delhi (LL.B.), Harvard University
ProfessionSenior Advocate
WebsiteOfficial website

Kapil Sibal (born 8 August 1948) is an Indian politician belonging to the Indian National Congress party. A lawyer, he formerly served at the helm of various ministries in the Congress-led UPA government over the years – beginning with the Ministry of Science & Technology, then the Ministry of Human Resource Development followed by the Ministry of Communications & IT, and the Ministry of Law & Justice.

Sibal was first nominated in July 1998, as a Member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, from the state of Bihar. He served as Additional Solicitor General of India (December 1989 – December 1990) and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association on three occasions (1995–96, 1997–98 and 2001–2002).[2] In 2004 general elections, he won the Chandni Chowk constituency of New Delhi with 71% vote share. In 2014 general elections, he received 18% of the votes and trailed at third position for Chandni Chowk constituency, behind.[3]

Early life and education

Sibal was born on 8 August 1948 in Jalandhar in Punjab. His family migrated to India during the partition in 1947.[4] Kapil Sibal moved to Delhi in 1964. After his schooling from St John's High School, he joined St. Stephen's College, Delhi for his B.A. He earned his LL.B. degree from the prestigious Campus Law Centre of the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, and later an M.A. in history from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He joined the bar association in 1972.[5] In the year 1973, he qualified for Indian Administrative Services and was offered an appointment.[6] But he declined the offer and decided to set up his own law practice.[6] Afterwards, he attended the Harvard Law School where he enrolled for an LL.M. which he completed in 1977.[7] He was designated as senior lawyer in 1983. In 1989, he was appointed the Additional Solicitor General of India. In 1994, he was the only lawyer to appear in the Parliament, and successfully defended a Supreme Court judge during impeachment proceedings. The impeachment motion was placed in the assembly for debate and voting on 10 May 1993. Of 401 members present in the assembly that day, there were 196 votes for impeachment and no votes against and 205 abstentions by ruling Congress and its allies. He had served as the President of the Supreme Court Bar association on three occasions, i.e. 1995–1996, 1997–1998 and 2001–2002.[8]


Kapil Sibal takes over the charge of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology in New Delhi 24 May 2004
Kapil Sibal takes over the charge of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology in New Delhi 24 May 2004

Kapil Sibal joined the Bar association in 1972. He decided to set up his own law practice.[2][9] He was designated as a Senior Lawyer in 1983. He was the Additional Solicitor General of India between 1989 and 1990, as well.[2][10] An anthology of Kapil Sibal's poems titled I Witness: Partial Observation was published by Roli Books, New Delhi,[11] in August 2008. He has also contributed several articles on various prominent issues such as security, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism in national dailies and periodicals. In the 2004 general elections, Sibal became an MP by winning the Chandni Chowk constituency against TV actor Smriti Irani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the National Capital Territory representing the Congress Party and was inducted into the Cabinet under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences. He won the constituency of Chandni Chowk for the second time for the Indian National Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 2009.

Over the years, he has held several important positions in the Government of India and the Society, such as: Additional Solicitor General of India (December 1989 – 1990); Member, Board of Management, Indira Gandhi National Open University (1993); President, Supreme Court Bar Association (1995–96, 1997–98 and 2001–2002); Member, Rajya Sabha (July 1998); Member, Executive Council, Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies (July, 2001); Member, Business Advisory Committee (August, 2001); Member, Committee on Home Affairs (January, 2002); Co-chairman, Indo-US Parliamentary Forum (2002); Member, Board of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (2002); Member, Programme Board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Indian AIDS initiative (2003); Member, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention set up by the Human Rights Commission, Geneva.

During his tenure as Telecom Minister his comment about the loss in the 2G spectrum case being only notional and causing "zero loss"[12] created a public outcry[13] and he had to clarify it later.[14] Kapil Sibal was indicted by CAG for favoring M/S Phoenix Rose LLC by overlooking rules and regulations and handpicking that company for creating a database for over 500,000 working professionals of People of Indian Origin settled in the US. CAG's report said that the project's cost was $120,000 but three years after the initiation, the company has dumped the networking site, completing just over 16% of the targeted work.[15]

Also during his time in that office, his move to regulate internet content[16] was criticized across many social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.[17]

He represented India in the Annual Meetings of the World Economic Forum in 2005 and 2009 held at Davos, Switzerland. He led the Indian delegation to the Annapolis Conference, USA, held to gather International support for establishment of a Palestinian state and the realization of Israeli–Palestinian peace during November 2007. He led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Bali in December 2007.

Sibal approved the creation of an Indian Institute of Technology Muddenahalli as part of the 11th 5-year plan.[18] He is also the person who introduced the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in India for Class IX and Class X and he has also started the changes in the IIT JEE pattern. He has laid the foundation stone for IIT Patna.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, Sibal announced that a fresh onslaught of deadly tsunami were likely along the India southern coast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, even though was no sign of turbulence in the region.[19]

The announcement was a false alarm and the Home Affairs minister withdrew their announcement.[20] Three days after the announcement, Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi called Science & Technology minister Kapil Sibal to express her concern about Sibal's 30 December public warning being "hogwash".[21]

Kapil Sibal has penned down the lyrics of the songs "Tere bina" and "Mast hawa" for 2016 Hindi film Shorgul.[22][23]

Political views

In 2011 Sibal has also announced a touchscreen tablet computer to be co-developed with private partnership. It was to be available to students for 1,500 (US$21). Satish Jha, chairman of OLPC India, the leading competitor to this venture, questioned his claim that a $35 laptop could be created in a year.[24] Five state Chief Ministers endorsed the OLPC initiative and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan himself inaugurated the project on the day Sibal showcased his future laptop. The event was attended by two members of the Union Cabinet.[25][26] This also lead to an open letter by Nicholas Negroponte offering him complete access to MIT and OLPC technologies to help realise India's dream to create a laptop of its own.[27] The computer was eventually released online as the UbiSlate7C1 tablet PC at 4,199 (US$59) and the Ubislate7C+ tablet PC at 5,199 (US$73)[28] As of February 2012, Datawind had over 1,400,000 pre-orders, but had only shipped 10,000 units - 0.7% of orders.[29] As of November 2012, many customers who put in orders still had not received their computers and were offered refunds.[30]

Personal life

Kapil Sibal's father was H. L. Sibal, a renowned advocate, his family migrated to India during the partition in 1947. In 1994, H.L. Sibal was named a "Living Legend of the Law" by the International Bar Association and in 2006, the Government of India honoured him with the 'Padma Bhushan' award for his distinguished services in the field of Public Affairs.[31] He married Nina Sibal in 1973, who died of breast cancer in 2000.[32] Amit and Akhil, Sibal's two sons from his first marriage, are both lawyers.[33] In 2005, Sibal married Promila Sibal.[34][35][36] His brother is Kanwal Sibal, a retired top diplomat of the Indian Foreign Service, and a former foreign secretary of India.


  1. ^ Rashid, Omar (11 June 2016). "Despite BJP's strategy, Sibal wins RS seat from U.P." The Hindu.
  2. ^ a b c Minister for Earth Sciences, Govt. of India: Shri Kapil Sibal Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Ministry of Earth Sciences website.
  3. ^ "Constituencywise Trends". Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Birthplace of Sibal". National Portal of India. Government of India. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  5. ^ 26 March; April 30, 2009UPDATED; Ist, 2009 17:29. "Kapil Sibal". India Today. Retrieved 28 April 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b "Kapil Sibal & Son Akhil Exclusive Interview With Karan Thapar", India Today, 21 August 2016, retrieved 6 May 2018
  7. ^ alumni 1977, List of Harvard Law School. "Listings and photographs of faculty, students". Harvard Law School. Harvard Law School Catalog. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  8. ^ Sibal, Detail about (25 January 2012). "Short Biography of Kapil Sibal". Preserve Article Press. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  9. ^ Kapil Sibal Archived 30 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  10. ^ Kapil Sibal, Hon'ble Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Archived 29 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Ministry of Science and Technology
  11. ^ Reddy, Sheela (8 September 2008). "A Couple of Syllables". Outlook India. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  12. ^ "No loss to Govt from 2G spectrum allocation: Sibal". Hindu Businessline. 7 January 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  13. ^ Ninan, T N. "Sibal's 'zero loss' claim carries zero credibility". Rediff. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  14. ^ "I never said zero loss if spectrum was auctioned: Kapil Sibal". The Economic Times. PTI. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  15. ^ "CAG indictment adds to Kapil Sibal troubles". Daily News and Analysis. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  16. ^ Timmons, Heather (5 December 2011). "India Asks Google, Facebook to Screen User Content". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  17. ^ Iyer, Srividya (7 December 2011). "Kapil Sibal under attack: Twitter, Facebook users target him". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  18. ^ 'IIT at Muddenahalli in 11th plan'. Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  19. ^ "Tsunami - The Irish Times". Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  20. ^ Tran, Tina. (30 December 2004) Associated Press "False tsunami alarm sparks panic in Indian Ocean region."
  21. ^ The Financial Express (2 January 2005) "Congress chief steps in as home, S&T ministers lock horns."
  22. ^ "I belong to romantic genre". 15 June 2016.
  23. ^ Basu, Indira (7 June 2016). "Kapil Sibal turns lyricist for Shorgul". The Hindu.
  24. ^ Article – OLPC picks holes in govt’s laptop agenda. (26 July 2010). Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  25. ^ OLPC Stall Pics ((nogallary)) – LUG@IITD Community Blog. (23 July 2010). Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  26. ^ "Laptop experience for Rajasthan villagers". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 August 2010.
  27. ^ Article – $35 laptop: OLPC founder wants stress on design. (29 July 2010). Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  28. ^ UbiSlate device specifications Archived 20 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  29. ^ Aakash lurches toward another crisis as India loses patience with DataWind Engadget, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  30. ^ Datawind to clear all paid orders for Aakash in 6 weeks The Hindu Business Line, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  31. ^ "Personal Profile | Kapil Sibal | Official Website | Perspectives and News about India, and Facts of Progress under the UPA Government". Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  32. ^ The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Nation. Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  33. ^ Basu, Arundhati (12 November 2005). "Legally speaking". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  34. ^ Bishakha De Sarkar (24 August 2008). "'When I'm in politics, I stick to the party line; when I'm a poet, I don't'". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  35. ^ Chadha, Kum Kum (10 February 2006). "Kapil da dhaba". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  36. ^ <>
Political offices Preceded byVijay Goel Minister of Science and Technology2004–2009 Succeeded byPawan Kumar Bansal Minister of Earth Sciences2004–2009 Preceded byArjun Singh Minister of Human Resource Development2009–2012 Succeeded byPallam Raju Preceded byA. Raja Minister of Communications and Information Technology2011–2014 Succeeded byRavi Shankar Prasad Preceded byAshwani Kumar Minister of Law and Justice2013–2014