The Constitution (Article 76) has provided for the office of the Attorney General for India. He is the highest law officer in the country.
- The Attorney General (AG) is appointed by the president.
- He must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court.
- The term of office of the AG is not fixed by the Constitution.
- Further, the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal.
- He holds office during the pleasure of the president. This means that he may be removed by the president at any time.
- He may 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 on its advice.
- The remuneration of the AG is not fixed by the Constitution. He receives such remuneration as the President may determine.
Duties & Functions:
- To give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, which are referred to him by the president.
- To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to him by the president.
- To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.
- 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.
- 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.
- He does not fall in the category of government servants. Further, 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 legal matters at the government level.
Solicitor General of India
- In addition to the AG, there are other law officers of the Government of India. They are the solicitor general of India and an additional solicitor general of India.
- They assist the AG in the fulfillment of his official responsibilities. It should be noted here that only the office of the AG is created by the Constitution. In other words, Article 76 does not mention about the solicitor general and additional solicitor general.