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Attorney General for India

  • Published
    27th Sep, 2022
Context

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has declined the government’s offer to be Attorney General (A-G) for India after “second thoughts”.

About

Incumbent Attorney General, K K Venugopal:

  • The term of the incumbent A-G, K K Venugopal, ends on September 30.
  • He is 91 years old, and on his third extension.
  • Venugopal has conveyed to the government that in view of his advanced age, he would not be able to continue after the end of his current term.

Attorney General of India:

  • The A-G is the Government of India’s first law officer, and has the right of audience in all courts of the country.
  • Who can become Attorney General for India? Under Article 76(1), the A-G is appointed by the President from among persons who are “qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court”.
  • Term of Office: Article 76(4) says “the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.”
  • Duty: Article 76(2) of the Constitution says “it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President”.

Articles Related to Attorney-General of India

  • The Constitution of India under Article 76, has provided for the office of the Attorney General for India. He is the highest law officer in the country.
  • Under Article 88, the “Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member”. However, he “shall not by virtue of this article be entitled to vote” in the House.
  • Article 105 of the constitution deals with powers, privileges and immunities of Attorney General.

 

Factual Information:

  • The first two incumbents of the post were the legendary M C Setalvad and C K Daphtary.
  • The A-G for India is not, like the A-G for England and Wales and the A-G of the United States, a member of the Cabinet.

Duties and Functions:

As the chief law officer of the Government of India, the duties of the AG include the following:

  • To give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, that are referred to him by the President.
  • To perform such other duties of a legal character that is assigned to him by the president.
  • To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.

The president has assigned the following duties to the AG:

  • To appear on behalf of the Government of India in all cases in the Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
  • To represent the Government of India in any reference made by the president to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • To appear (when required by the Government of India) in any high court in any case in which the Government of India is concerned.
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