Attorney General for India
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Attorney General for India – Indian Polity Notes

The constitution of India under article 76 provides for office of Attorney General for India. He/She is the highest law officer of the Government of India. He acts as prime legal advisor to the Government and to the President. It must be noted here that Attorney General is considered as part of union executive.


Under article 76(1), Attorney General for India is appointed by the President.

To be appointed as Attorney General for India, individual must possess qualifications prescribed for the Supreme Court Judges:

  • Citizen of India.
  • Must have been judge in some high court for 5 years OR
  • Must have been an advocate of some high court for 10 years OR
  • An eminent jurist, in the opinion for the President.


Constitution provides that Attorney General continues to hold office at pleasure of the President. Constitution neither provides fixed tenure nor fixed remunerations for attorney general.

In practice he/she continues to hold office at will of union council of ministers led by the Prime Minister. 


As per doctrine of pleasure, attorney general can be removed at any moment by the President. But it is not a discretion of the President, he/she shall act in accordance to advice given by union council of ministers led by the Prime Minister.

Attorney General can vacate office by addressing resignation letter to the President. 

Office falls vacant upon death of Attorney General.


  • By virtue of being part of union executive, attorney general is provided with right to take part in parliamentary discussion without right to vote under article 88.
  • Since, he is allowed to take part in proceedings of parliament, he is entitled to all parliamentary privileges available to other members under article 105.
  • Under section 15 of contempt of court act, consent of attorney general is mandatory to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against an individual.
  • He has right to audience in all courts of India.
  • Unlike judges, he is not prohibited for private practice as office of attorney general is not considered as Government employee.


Attorney General is prime legal advisor to the Government. The functions and responsibilities of attorney general are provided in Law Officers (Conditions of Service) Rules 1972.

  • He advises the union government on legal matters.
  • He advises the President on legal matters as referred by the President.
  • He performs other legal duties as the President notifies.
  • Under article 143, when the President seeks opinion of Supreme Court, it is duty of attorney general to represent the President in court.
  • He represents the union government in Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • All cases of various departments of the union are placed before attorney general. He decides which cases requires his appearance in court. Rest cases are dealt by the Solicitor General for India.


  • Attorney General has no right to vote, even if proceedings has legal implications.
  • He cannot advise petitioners who have filed cases against Government of India as part of his private practice.
  • He cannot accept any position in private company without consent of union government.
  • During his practice, he cannot take assignment of defending criminal cases without consent of union government.

Way Forward:

As the Supreme Court has held office of attorney general as “friend, guide and philosopher of the court”, the powers of office needs to tweaked as per changing times.

There is debate over whether attorney general is duty bound to keep spirit of constitution in mind while examining cases or just defending the union government by reading current provisions of law.

Attorney General’s along with courts have very important role to play in country like ours. By virtue to placing her arguments before court, he has power to leave impacts on other on how cases are defended or interpreted. That’s why it’s imperative to keep constitutional spirit at the core of argument.

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