Attorney General of India: Article 76, Powers, Appointment, Functions

By Ritesh|Updated : July 21st, 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 from the Part V of the Indian constitution concisely describes the post of an Attorney General and its powers, functions, and duties, among other things.

The current Attorney General of India is K.K. Venugopal. He is the fifteenth AG appointed on 30 June 2017, succeeding Mukul Rohatgi. Attorney General is an important topic under Indian Polity and constitution, making it relevant for all three stages of the IAS Exam- UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Interviews. This article will cover the important details about the Attorney General and the 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 the Attorney General of India?

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

Current Attorney General of India

K.K. Venugopal

First Attorney General of India

M.C. Setalvad

Who Appoints the Attorney General of India

President of India

Attorney General of India Tenure

Not Fixed, Holds office during the pleasure of the President

Attorney General of India Article

Article 76

Attorney General of India's 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.

Download Attorney Generals of India UPSC Notes PDF

Attorney Generals of India List

India has had 15 Attorney Generals to date. KK Venugopal is the 15th AG, serving the office since 2017. Below is the Attorney General of India List, along with their tenure.

Attorney General of India

Name of the Attorney General

Tenure

1st Attorney General

M.C. Setalvad

28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963

2nd Attorney General

C.K. Daftari

2 March 1963 – 30 October 1968

3rd Attorney General

Niren de

1 November 1968 – 31 March 1977

4th Attorney General

S.V. Gupte

1 April 1977 – 8 August 1979

5th Attorney General

L.N. Sinha

9 August 1979 – 8 August 1983

6th Attorney General

K. Parasaran

9 August 1983 – 8 December 1989

7th Attorney General

Soli Sorabjee

9 December 1989 – 2 December 1990

8th Attorney General

J. Ramaswamy

3 December 1990 – 23 November 1992

9th Attorney General

Milon K. Banerji

21 November 1992 – 8 July 1996

10th Attorney General

Ashok Desai

9 July 1996 – 6 April 1998

11th Attorney General

Soli Sorabjee

7 April 1998 – 4 June 2004

12th Attorney General

Milon K. Banerjee

5 June 2004 – 7 June 2009

13th Attorney General

Goolam Essaji Vahanvati

8 June 2009 – 11 June 2014

14th Attorney General

Mukul Rohatgi

12 June 2014 – 30 June 2017

15th Attorney General

K.K. Venugopal

30 June 2017- till date

Appointment of the Attorney General of India: Article 76 of the Indian Constitution

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 the Attorney General of India

The tenure of an Attorney General 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 Duties of the 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 the AG by the President, to which he/she provides counsel to the Unio government.
  • The President refers to the AG 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 the Government of India
  • 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 appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India

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

Attorney General of India UPSC

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

Attorney General of India UPSC Notes PDF

Attorney General of India and his/her duties, power, functions, and other details form to be the basics of the Indian Polity and Constitution. Hence, it becomes relevant from the perspective of UPSC Exam Preparation. Candidates are advised to commit these facts to memory.

Download Attorney Generals of India Notes PDF

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FAQs for Attorney General of India UPSC Notes

  • 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.

  • K. K. Venugopal is the Present Attorney General of India

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

  • The President can remove him 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 Supreme Court of India judge.

  • M.C. Setalvad was the First Attorney General of India from 28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963.

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