Article 76 under Part V of the Indian Constitution provided for the office of the Attorney General of India. He is a part of the Union Executive and the highest law officer in the country. He is the chief legal advisor of the Government of India and its principal advocate before the Supreme Court.
Appointment of the Attorney General
- The President of India appoints the Attorney General of India on the advice of the Government (council of ministers).
- President appoints a person as Attorney General who is qualified to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court. In other words, there are the following qualifications:
- He should be an Indian citizen.
- He must have been a judge of High Court of any Indian State for five years or an advocate in any High Court for ten years, or
- He should be an eminent jurist in the opinion of the President.
Term of office
- The Constitution of India does not fix the term of office of the Attorney General.
- He holds the office during the pleasure of the President, which means the President can remove him at any time.
- Further, the Constitution of India does not contain the procedure and grounds for the removal of the Attorney General.
- He can also quit his office by submitting his resignation to the President.
- Conventionally, he resigns when the government (council of ministers) resigns or is replaced, as he is appointed by the President on its advice.
The Constitution of India does not fix the remuneration of the Attorney General of India. The Attorney General receives such remuneration (salary) as determined by the President.
Duties and Functions of the Attorney General
As a chief law officer of the Government of India, the Attorney General had to perform the following duties:
- To advise the Indian Government upon such legal matters, which are referred to him by the President.
- To perform such other duties of the legal character, which are assigned to him by the President.
- To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution of India or any other law.
Apart from these, the President has assigned the following functions to the Attorney General:
- The Attorney General has to appear in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Government of India in all cases where the Indian Government is concerned.
- The Attorney General has to represent the Union Government in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Indian Constitution.
- When required by the Government of India, he also has to appear in any High Court in any case where the Indian Government is concerned.
Rights of the Attorney General of India
- While performing his official duties, the Attorney General has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
- Article 88 of the Indian Constitution deals with the rights of the Attorney General of India with respect to the Houses of Parliament and its Committee.
- The Attorney General has the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament or their joint sitting but without a right to vote.
- He also has the right to take part in the proceedings of any committee of Parliament of which he named as a member but without a right to vote.
- Article 105 of the Constitution of India deals with the Powers, Privileges, and immunities of the Attorney General of India.
- The Attorney General enjoys all the privileges and immunities which are available to a Member of Parliament.
Limitations on the Attorney General of India
There are certain limitations placed on the Attorney General of India to prevent any complication and conflict of interest, which are as follow:
- He should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India.
- He should not advise or hold a brief in cases which he is called upon to advise or appear for the Government of India.
- He should not defend the accused persons in criminal prosecution without the permission of the Government of India.
- He should not accept an appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India.
Facts about the Attorney General of India
- The Attorney General of India does not fall in the category of government servants. He is not a full-time counsel for the Government.
- He can also practice privately, as he is not debarred from private legal practice.
- The Attorney General is not a member of the Central Cabinet. There is a separate Law Minister in the Central Cabinet to look after the legal matters at the government level.
Solicitor General of India
In addition to the Attorney General of India, there are other law officers of the Government of India. They are the Solicitor General of India and the Additional Solicitor General of India. They assist the Attorney General in the fulfillment of his official responsibilities.
The Constitution of India only mentions the office of the Attorney General of India under Article 76. In other words, Article 76 of the Constitution does not provide for the Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor General of India.
Important Articles related to the Attorney General of India
|Article 76||Office of the Attorney General of India|
|Article 88||Rights of Attorney General with respect to the Houses of Parliament and its Committee|
|Article 105||Powers, Privileges, and immunities of the Attorney General of India|
List of Attorney Generals of India
|Attorney General of India||Name of the Attorney General||Term of office||Incumbent Prime Minister|
|1st Attorney General||M. C. Setalvad||1950-1963||Jawaharlal Nehru|
|2nd Attorney General||C. K. Daphtary||1963-1968||Jawaharlal Nehru;|
Lal Bahadur Shastri
|3rd Attorney General||Niren De||1968-1977||Indra Gandhi|
|4th Attorney General||S. V. Gupte||1977-1979||Morarji Desai|
|5th Attorney General||L. N. Sinha||1979-1983||Indira Gandhi|
|6th Attorney General||K. Parasaran||1983-1989||Indira Gandhi;|
|7th Attorney General||Soli Sorabjee||1989-1990||V. P. Singh;|
|8th Attorney General||J. Ramaswamy||1990-1992||Chandra Shekhar;|
P. V. Narasimha Rao
|9th Attorney General||Milon K. Banerji||1992-1996||P. V. Narasimha Rao|
|10th Attorney General||Ashok Desai||1996-1998||H. D. Devegowda;|
Inder Kumar Gujral
|11th Attorney General||Soli Sorabjee||1998-2004||Atal Bihari Vajpayee|
|12th Attorney General||Milon K. Banerji||2004-2009||Manmohan Singh|
|13th Attorney General||Goolam Essaji Vahanvati||2009-2014||Manmohan Singh|
|14th Attorney General||Mukul Rohatgi||2014-2017||Narendra Modi|
|15th Attorney General||K. K. Venugopal||2017-incumbent||Narendra Modi|
FAQs on the Attorney General of India
Who appoints the Attorney General of India?
The President of India appoints the Attorney General on the advice of the Government (council of ministers).
What is the Attorney General’s role?
The Attorney General assists the Government of India in its legal matters. He is the highest law officer in the country, who defends and protects the interest of the Government. He is the principal advocate of the Indian Government before the Supreme Court of India.
Is the Attorney General Part of the Parliament?
Attorney General can take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of the Parliament or any committee of the Parliament but does not have the right to vote.
Who is the present Attorney General in India?
K. K. Venugopal is the current Attorney General of India. He began his service in June 2017 as the 15th Attorney General of India. President Ram Nath Kovind reappointed him as Attorney General in 2020 and extended his term for one more year.
|Also Read: Advocate General of State|