Sunday, 22 September 2013

Current Event for TNPSC Exam - Attorney General for India

The Attorney General of India, Mr Goolam E. Vahanvati. -- Shiv Kumar Pushpakar. (file photo)The Attorney General for India is the Indian government's chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President. He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
 
The Attorney General, like an Advocate General of a State is not supposed to be a political appointee, in spirit, but this is not the case in practice. Every time a party comes to power in the general elections, all the law officers resign and law officers loyal to the new party are appointed.
 
The current Attorney General is Goolam Essaji Vahanvati, who was appointed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government after the 2009 General Elections.
 
Powers and duties
 
See also: Article 76, Constitution of India
 
The Attorney General is responsible for giving advice to the Government of India in legal matters referred to him. He also performs other legal duties assigned to him by the President. The Attorney General has the right of audience in all Courts in India as well as the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament, though not to vote.The Attorney General appears on behalf of Government of India in all cases (including suits, appeals and other proceedings) in the Supreme Court in which Government of India is concerned. He also represents the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
 
Unlike the Attorney General of the United States, the Attorney General of India does not have any executive authority, and is not a political appointee, those functions are performed by the Law Minister of India.
The Attorney General can accept briefs but cannot appear against the Government. He cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.
The Attorney General is assisted by a Solicitor General and four Additional Solicitors General.The Attorney General is to be consulted only in legal matters of real importance and only after the Ministry of Law has been consulted. All references to the Attorney General are made by the Law Ministry.

Politicization of the Attorney General

Attorney General is selected by the Government and acts as its advocate, and hence is not a neutral person. Nevertheless, it is a constitutional authority, and his or her opinions are subject to public scrutiny. On several occasions however, the opinions pursued by the Attorney General appear to have been extremely politicized.[3]
During some of the AG tenures, it has been felt that the attorney general has gone too far. Niren De during Indira Gandhi replied to a question by Hans Raj Khanna stating that even the right to life can be suspended during emergency.
Similarly, in 2005, when the UPA government was planning a possible coalition with Mayawati, Milon K. Banerjee's opinion absolving Mayawati in the Taj corridor case was ignored by the Supreme Court[4] In a direct condemnation of the government which asked the CBI to heed attorney general Milon Banerjee’s opinion and close the case against Mayawati, the Supreme Court told the agency not to go solely on the AG’s opinion and place all evidence before it.
In 2009, Milon K. Banerjee's opinion absolving Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors scandal has also been viewed as "devaluing and eroding the Attorney General's position".

Former Attorneys General

The Attorneys General for India since independence are listed below:
Attorney GeneralTermIncumbent Prime Minister
M. C. Setalvad28.01.1950 - 01.03.1963Jawaharlal Nehru
C.K.Daphtary02.03.1963 - 30.10.1968Jawaharlal Nehru; Lal Bahadur Shastri
Niren De01.11.1968 - 31.03.1977Indira Gandhi
S.V. Gupte01.04.1977 - 08.08.1979Morarji Desai
L.N. Sinha09.08.1979 - 08.08.1983Indira Gandhi
K. Parasaran09.08.1983 - 08.12.1989Indira Gandhi; Rajiv Gandhi
Soli Sorabjee09.12.1989 - 02.12.1990V. P. Singh; Chandra Shekhar
G. Ramaswamy03.12.1990 - 23.11.1992Chandra Shekhar; P. V. Narasimha Rao
Milon K. Banerji21.11.1992 - 08.07.1996P. V. Narasimha Rao
Ashok Desai09.07.1996 - 06.04.1998H. D. Devegowda; Inder Kumar Gujral
Soli Sorabjee07.04.1998 - 04.06.2004Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Milon K. Banerji05.06.2004 - 07.06.2009Manmohan Singh
Goolam Essaji Vahanvati08.06.2009 - incumbentManmohan Singh