The Attorney General is a key position in the Indian legal system. As the chief legal advisor to the Government of India and the highest law officer of the country, the Attorney General plays an important role in advising the government on legal matters and representing the government in legal cases.
Qualifications: The person appointed as the Attorney General must be qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, which means they must be a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years, or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the President. They must also be a citizen of India.
Term of Office: The term of office of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution and he holds office during the pleasure of the President, meaning he may be removed by the President at any time.
Responsibilities and Duties:
- Chief Legal Advisor to the Government: The Attorney General is responsible for advising the government on legal matters and providing legal support in all its legal matters.
- Legal Representation: He appears on behalf of the government in all cases in the Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned and in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
- Legal Advice: He gives advice to the government on legal matters referred or assigned to him by the President under Article 143.
- Legal Functions: He discharges the functions conferred on him by or under the Constitution or any other law.
- Right of Audience: The Attorney General has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
- Right to Speak in Parliament: He has the right to speak or take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament and their joint sittings, but without a right to vote.
- Privileges and Immunities: He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
- No Advising Against Government: The Attorney General should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India.
- No Defense in Criminal Cases: He should not defend accused persons in criminal cases without the permission of the government of India.
- No Company Directorship: He should not accept an appointment as a director in any company without the permission of the government.
The Attorney General of India plays a crucial role in the Indian legal system. As the chief legal advisor to the government and the highest law officer of the country, he provides legal support to the government and represents it in legal cases. Although he does not have executive authority, he is a part of the Union executive and has significant rights and privileges in the performance of his duties.