Attorney General (AG) - the top law officer of India, is the chief legal advisor to the Central Government and the primary lawyer in the Supreme Court. Attorney General is appointed directly by the President of India under the provisions of Article 76(1) of the Constitution of India. The person appointed as Attorney General must have all the qualifications needed to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
Attorney General represents the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution. AG is consulted only in legal matters of greatest importance and all references are made by the Ministry of Law and Justice. The Ministry of Law and Justice is the highest organ of the Government of India which deals with the management of legal affairs, legislative activities and administration of justice in India through its three departments namely the Legislative Department and the Department of Legal affairs and Department of justice respectively.
Attorney General of India is selected by the Government and acts as its advocate. Hence every time when a party comes to power in the general elections, the AG has to resign from his post and a new Attorney General loyal to the new party is appointed.
Attorney General is assisted by two Solicitor General of India, who is the second law officer of the country and also with a group of four additional Solicitor Generals.
The primary duties and functions of Attorney General involves :
- • To give legal advice to the Government of India on all legal matters and also performs legal duties, which may be referred or assigned to him by the President from time to time.
- • To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law for the time being in force.
- • To appear on behalf of the government of India in all cases (including suits, appeals and other proceedings) before the Supreme Court and various High Courts in which Government of India is concerned.
- • Though he is not a member of the Cabinet, he has the right to speak and to participate in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament and its committees but has no right to vote.
- • He has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India Attorney General shall neither advise nor hold a brief against the Government of India. Nor should defend accused persons for criminal prosecution without the permission of the Government of India. He is prohibited to take appointment as a director in any company. The AG represents the Union and the State before the courts but is also allowed to take up private practice, provided the other party is not the state.
How to become an Attorney General
A legal education and a membership in any state bar council are required, for those who aspire to be an Attorney General. To become an Attorney General, the person must be qualified to become the Supreme Court Judge as prescribed by Article 124 (3) of the Constitution of India.
To be qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court judge, a person must : • be a citizen of India • has been a Judge of any High Court for at least five years or two or more such court in succession; or • has been an advocate of a High Court for at least ten years or of two or more such court in succession; or • in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist. Under normal conditions, the judges of the Supreme Court hold office till they attain the age of 65 years.
Personal Attributes Needed : Excellent writing and communication skills is essential for the Attorney General. Participating in debates or moot court competition, group discussions etc will help candidates to develop their communication skills and enable them to express their opinions confidently.
Remuneration : The Attorney General holds office during the pleasure of the President (i.e. can be dismissed summarily by the President) without any restrictions. They shall receive no salary or remuneration but a retainer fee determined by the President. Moreover, the Attorney General of India is also paid a sumptuary allowance per month, except during the period of his leave. Attorney General receives an imbursement equivalent to that of a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- • Bachelor of General Law (BGL)
- • Bachelor of Law (LLB)