Updated February 5, 2022
Article 76 and 78 of the Constitution of India deals with the Attorney General. The office of the Attorney General for India has been provided under Article 76 of the Constitution. The Attorney General is the highest law officer in our country. He is appointed by the President. To be appointed as an Attorney General, he should be qualified to be appointed as judge of the Supreme Court. He must be a citizen of India and he must have been a judge of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist. The term of the office of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution of India. And the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal. He holds office during the pleasure of the President.
He is the Chief Legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India. So, as a chief legal advisor to the government of India, he advises the Central Government on all legal matters.
Appointment of the Attorney General of India
It is the President of India who appoints the Attorney General. He appoints a person who is qualified for the post of Supreme Court Judge. There are the following qualifications:
(a) To be appointed as an Attorney General, he should be a Citizen of India.
(b) He must have either completed 5 years in High Court of any Indian state as a judge or 10 years in High Court as an advocate
(c) He may be an eminent jurist too, in the eye of the President
The Term of Office for the Attorney General
The term of office for the Attorney General is not fixed by the constitution of India. Similarly, the Constitution of India also does not mention the procedure and ground of his removal. But the position can be removed from the following manner-
(a) President can remove the Attorney General of India at any time.
(b) He can quit by submitting his resignation only to the President
(c) Since he is appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of Ministers, conventionally the Attorney General can be removed if the council has been dissolved or replaced.
Role and Duties as Being the Chief Legal Adviser and Lawyer of the Country
(a) To give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, which are referred to him by the President.
(b) To perform such other duties of a Legal Character that suits his interest are assigned to him by the President.
(c) Apart from what President refers, he also performs the duties mentioned in the Constitution
(d) To appear on behalf of the Government of India in all cases in the supreme court in which the Government of India is concerned.
(e) To represent the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the constitution.
(f) To appear in any high court in any cases if it is required by the Government of India.
Along with his official duties, he has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India. He also enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament
limitations on the AGI
Certain Limitations are placed on him in order to avoid any complication and conflict of duty.
(a) He should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India.
(b) 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.
(c) He should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.
(d) He should not accept appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India.
However, the Attorney-General is not the full-time counsel of the Government. He does not fall in the category of government servants and he is not debarred from private legal practice. But, he should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India and he should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.
Thus, the duties and privileges of the AGI, combined with the limitations imposed on him, make him the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India. Nevertheless, the separate law minister in the Central cabinet to look after legal matters at the government level, to some extent, gives the office of AGI a subordinate position.