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Attorney General and Solicitor General

Study Material > Polity
  • The Attorney General of India is appointed by the President of India under Article 76 of the Constitution and holds the office during the pleasure of the President.
  • He is the highest law officer in the country.
  • It is the duty of the Attorney General of India to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters and to perform such other duties of legal character as may be referred or assigned to him by the President.
  • In the performance of his duties, he has the right of audience in all the Courts in India as well as the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the houses of Parliament or their joint sitting and any committee of the Parliament of which he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
  • He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
  • 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/She also represents the government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • 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 Ministry of Law.
  • Attorney General cannot appear against the Government. He/She cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.
  • Unlike the Attorney General of the United States, the Attorney General of India does not have any executive authority; those functions are performed by the Law Minister of India.
  • The Attorney General has no fixed term. 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.
  • The remuneration of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution. He receives such remuneration as the president may determine. It should be noted that it is the only constitutional office that has these kinds of provisions.
  • The Attorney General of India, 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, in India, all the law officers loyal to the new party are appointed.
  • In discharge of his functions, the Attorney General is assisted by a Solicitor General and four Additional Solicitors General.

Solicitor General

  • The Solicitor General of India is the Second law officer of the country and assists the Attorney General.
  • The Solicitor General is further assisted by four Additional Solicitors General.
  • The Solicitor General does not tender legal advice to the Government of India and its workload is confined to appearing in courts on behalf of Union of India. The Constitution does not mention about the Solicitor General.

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