Attorney General of India: Article 76, Tenure, Powers, Attorney General of India UPSC

By Ritesh|Updated : November 18th, 2022

The Attorney General of India is the primary lawyer of the Central government and is their legal representative in the Supreme Court of India. Article 76 of the Indian Constitution (Part V) concisely describes the post of an Attorney General of India and its powers, functions, and duties, among other things. The present Attorney General of India is R. Venkataramani, who is appointed for a period of 3 years. He is the sixteenth AG appointed on 01 October 2022, succeeding K.K. Venugopal.

Attorney General of India UPSC is an important topic under Indian Polity and constitution, making it relevant for all three stages of the IAS Exam - Prelims, Mains, and Interviews. This article will cover the important details about the Attorney General (Article 76 of Indian Constitution) and their duties and responsibilities. Candidates who have decided to take Indian Polity as their optional subject will also benefit from this.

Table of Content

Who is Attorney General of India?

The post of the Attorney General of India has been described under Article 76 of the Indian Constitution. He/She is the primary legal representative of the Union Government. He/She is responsible for representing the Government in the Supreme Court of India. The appointment of the Attorney General of India is not supposed to be influenced by politics.

Attorney General of India UPSC PDF

Present Attorney General of India

R. Venkataramani

First Attorney General of India

M.C. Setalvad

Who Appoints AG?

President of India

Tenure

Not Fixed, Holds office during the pleasure of the President

Attorney General of India Article

Article 76

Salary

The salary of the Attorney General of India is equivalent to the SC Judge. It is taken out of the Consolidated Fund of India.

Attorney General of India: Article 76 of Indian Constitution

According to Article 76 of the Indian Constitution, the President appoints an Attorney General for India who is competent to be appointed as a Supreme Court Judge.

  • It shall be the Attorney General's duty to advise the Government of India on such legal issues and to perform such other legal responsibilities as may be referred or assigned to them by the President from time to time, as well as to discharge the functions conferred on them by or under this Constitution or any other law in force at the time.
  • He/She shall have the right of an audience in all courts in India while performing their duties.
  • He/She serves at the convenience of the President and receives whatever salary the President determines.

List of Attorney General of India

India has had 16 Attorney Generals to date. R. Venkataramani is the 16th AG, serving the office since 2022. Below is the Attorney General of India List, along with their tenure.

Attorney General of India

Name

Tenure

1st

M.C. Setalvad

28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963

2nd

C.K. Daftari

2 March 1963 – 30 October 1968

3rd

Niren de

1 November 1968 – 31 March 1977

4th

S.V. Gupte

1 April 1977 – 8 August 1979

5th

L.N. Sinha

9 August 1979 – 8 August 1983

6th

K. Parasaran

9 August 1983 – 8 December 1989

7th

Soli Sorabjee

9 December 1989 – 2 December 1990

8th

J. Ramaswamy

3 December 1990 – 23 November 1992

9th

Milon K. Banerji

21 November 1992 – 8 July 1996

10th

Ashok Desai

9 July 1996 – 6 April 1998

11th

Soli Sorabjee

7 April 1998 – 4 June 2004

12th

Milon K. Banerjee

5 June 2004 – 7 June 2009

13th

Goolam Essaji Vahanvati

8 June 2009 – 11 June 2014

14th

Mukul Rohatgi

12 June 2014 – 30 June 2017

15th

K.K. Venugopal

30 June 2017- 01 October 2022

16th

R. Venkataramani

01 October 2022 - till date

Appointment of Attorney General of India

The Attorney General of India is appointed through nomination by the President of India. The President can appoint only a person who qualifies as a Supreme Court judge. Along with this, a few other pointers are required to qualify for the post.

  • The candidate should be a citizen of India.
  • The candidate should have 5 years of experience as a judge in the High Court of any state.

OR,

  • The candidate should have 10 years of experience as an advocate in the High Court of any state.
  • The candidate can also be a famous jurist.

Tenure of Attorney General of India

The tenure of Attorney General of India has not been defined by the Indian Constitution. There is no specific or fixed term. Similarly, the constitution does not specify the process to be followed for the removal.

  • The President of India can only remove the AG at any given time, as there is no minimum tenure.
  • The President appoints the Attorney General after consulting the Council of Ministers. The Convention would also dictate that the removal would be discussed with the Council.
  • The AG can resign from the post after submitting their resignation to the President.

Powers and Functions of Attorney General of India

The Attorney General of India is the country's chief law officer. The AG has a lot of duties and responsibilities to perform, like;

  • Legal matters are referred to him/her by the President, to which he/she provides counsel to the Union government.
  • The President refers to the Attorney General of India for counsel on legal matters that interest him/her.
  • There are three duties that are assigned to the AG by the President. They are;
    • For any legal proceeding that concerns the GoI, the AG is to represent them in the Supreme Court.
    • Article 143 of the Indian Constitution requires the AG to represent the Union in any proceeding referred to by the President.
    • In all cases related to the GoI, the AG shall appear for the court proceedings.

Limitations of the Attorney General of India

To avoid conflict of duty, there are a few limitations that are posted on the Attorney General which he should keep in mind while performing his duties:

  • He should not advise or hold a brief against GoI.
  • He should not advise or hold a brief in cases in which he is called upon to advise or appear for the Government of India.
  • He should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions 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.

Attorney General of India UPSC

Attorney General of India UPSC is an important topic under the subject of Indian Polity and constitution for the UPSC Prelims and Mains examinations. Candidates can refer to appropriate Polity books for UPSC preparation to brush up on their basics about this topic. They can also read relevant information by downloading the Attorney General of India UPSC Notes PDF given in this article.

Attorney General of India UPSC Questions

The Attorney General of India is a topic of substance in the IAS exam preparation. Candidates must practice it well and commit the basics to their memory. Check these sample questions below for your retention:

Question - Who is a non-member given the power to participate in the Lok Sabha debates?

  1. Vice President
  2. Attorney General of India
  3. Chief Justice of India
  4. None of the above

Answer - B. Attorney General of India

Question - Who among the following holds the office for tenure as per the pleasure of the President?

  1. Comptroller Auditor General of India
  2. Election Commissioner
  3. Attorney General of India
  4. Lok Sabha Speaker

Answer - C. Attorney General of India

Other Important UPSC Notes
Madden Julian OscillationKaziranga National Park
Quit India MovementOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Inner Line PermitRight to Information Act
Ramsar Sites in IndiaCentre-State Relations
Masala BondsNo Confidence Motion
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code [IBC]
SEBI UPSCIndia-China Relations

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FAQs on Attorney General of India

  • The Government of India picks the attorney general. The AG acts as its advocate, and consequently, he/she is not a neutral person. It is a constitutional authority, and his or her opinions are open to public scrutiny.

  • R. Venkataramani is the present Attorney General of India who held the office on 01 October 2022 and was appointed for a period of 3 years. He is the 16th AG who succeeded K.K. Venugopal whose tenure was from 30 June 2017 till 01 October 2022.

  • The Attorney General of India enjoys all the privileges and immunities available to a Parliament member. S/he does not fall in the category of government servant. S/he is not debarred from private legal practice.

  • The President can remove the Attorney General of India at any time. He can quit by submitting his resignation only to the President.

  • The Attorney General of India can take part in the proceedings of either House of Parliament. To be appointed as the Attorney General of India, a person must be qualified to be appointed as a  judge of the Supreme Court of India.

  • M.C. Setalvad was the First Attorney General of India from 28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963. He is the longest-serving AG to date who held the office for 13 years.

  • Article 76 of the Indian Constitution states that the Attorney General of India is the highest law officer in India. They advise the union government on all legal matters as the government of India's main legal advisor.

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