Subhas Anandan (born 1947) is a prominent criminal lawyer in Singapore. He has appeared in numerous high-profile cases, including that of Quan Yi Fong, and the kidney transplant case involving retail tycoon Tang Wee Sung. He is now a senior consultant in law firm KhattarWong and heads its department in criminal law. He is a founding member and the first president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore. He is also the president of Cuesports Singapore, the national sports association for billiards, snooker and pool.
Subhas Anandan was born in 1947 to R. Anandan and Govindan Pushpanjaly, in Kerala, India. When he was five months old, the family migrated from Kerala to Singapore, where his father had found work as a clerk in the British Royal Navy. They lived in the staff quarters within the British naval base in Sembawang until his father retired in the early 1970s.
Anandan attended primary and secondary school in the naval base, first at Admiralty Asian School and then Naval Base School. He excelled academically and in sports too, including cricket and football. In 1963, after achieving a first grade in his Senior Cambridge (now ‘O’ level) examinations, he left for India to study medicine at Loyola College in Madras (now Chennai) under the request of his mother. But after the first few lessons, he was convinced that he was not meant to be a doctor. He returned home after three months and started his pre-university education at Raffles Institution in 1964.
After completing his Higher School Certificate (now ‘A’ level) examinations, he wanted to join the police force but eventually enrolled in the University of Singapore at the insistence of his father. While pursuing a degree in law, he participated in various extra-curricular activities, including playing on the university’s football team and serving as secretary-general of the Socialists’ Club. He obtained his law degree in 1970 and went on to become to protege of Chan Sek Keong, then a senior partner at law firm Shook Lin & Bok and, later, a former Chief Justice of Singapore.
He had started his practice handling mainly civil, accident and family cases but soon began gravitating towards criminal law. To date, he has handled over a thousand criminal cases involving a wide range of crimes, including murder, rape, maid abuse, drug trafficking and white-collar offences. Known for his sharp and stinging attacks in the courtroom, he is nicknamed “the Basher” within the law community. His piercing stares, bushy hair and thick beard also give him an intimidating presence, although he has been described as a jovial, affable and even soft-spoken person outside the courtroom. As one of Singapore’s top criminal defence lawyers, he has appeared so frequently in the media that some people have called him a "publicity hound".
While he is critical of some aspects of the criminal justice system in Singapore, he believes that the system must be followed. Subscribing to the tenet that everyone deserves a proper defence regardless of the crime, he has defended clients accused of the most horrifying crimes despite the condemnation and occasional death threats that he receives. Ananda has claimed to have never rejected cases because of what the person had been charged with.
Anandan first applied for Singapore citizenship in 1972, but was informed a decade later that his application had been turned down. He tried again 2002, and was then finally granted citizenship.
Anandan is particular passionate about big-capacity cars. He developed this liking in his secondary school days, when he saw other students driving or being driven around in luxury cars like Mercedes Benzes and Jaguars. Besides owning luxury cars, he likes collecting antique or miniature swords, sabres and Malay krises. He often goes to the Singapore Cricket Club to play snooker and billiards, which helps him relax when he is working on a case. He also spends most of his time at the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple, where he is currently serving as chairman of its Board of Trustees.
Formerly an active sportsman, he now takes 15 to 16 types of medication every day because of his deteriorating health. His most prominent apprentice would be T.Haarishankar. He has had three heart attacks, and has also undergone a heart bypass and an angioplasty. He has lost one kidney to cancer and is diabetic.
Awards and recognitions
Former Solicitor-General Francis Seow owns Anandan $25,000 since the 1980s.
- "R. Anandan" Obituary. (1984, November 14). The Straits Times, pg 39. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from NewspaperSG Database
- Chan, C. (2007, May 16) "Regrets? He has a few..." The New Paper. Retrieved January 29, 2010
- Interview with Criminal Lawyer, Mr. Subhas Anandan Singapore Law Review. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- Joycelyn Wong (December 11, 2008). "My own family scolds me for the cases I take". AsiaOne. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- Shibani Mahtani (July 9, 2012). "Singapore to Soften Death Penalty for Drugs". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "Quan Yifeng hires top lawyer". Singapore Law Watch.
- Yap, S. (2008, June 30). "Soaring legal eagle" The Straits Times. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
- "Church's remarks could interfere judicial process: Lawyers". AsiaOne. June 30, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "Singapore to legalise anal, oral sex - but only for heterosexuals". Fridae. November 9, 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "Mdm Govindan Pushpanjaly" Obituary. (1995, July 6). The Straits Times, pg 34. Retrieved January 29, 2010
- "Regrets? He has a few...". AsiaOne. November 1, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- Anandan, Subhas (2009). The Best I Could. Marshall Cavendish.