Attorney General for India
भारत के महान्यायवादी
TypeJudiciary of India
ResidenceNew Delhi, India
AppointerPresident of India
on advice of the Union Cabinet
Term lengthper discretion of the President
Constituting instrumentArticle 76 of the Constitution
Formation28 January 1950
First holderM. C. Setalvad
DeputySolicitor General of India
  • 225,000 (US$2,800) (per month)
  • 2,700,000 (US$34,000) (Annual)

The Attorney General for India is the chief legal advisor of the Government of India. The attorney general is appointed by the President of India at the instance of the Union Cabinet under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and hold office during the pleasure of the President. The Attorney General must meet the qualifications necessary for an appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Attorney General should have served as a judge in a high court for a minimum of five years, or as an advocate in a high court for at least ten years. Alternatively, the President may consider an individual as eligible for the role if they are deemed an eminent jurist.

R. Venkataramani is the incumbent Attorney-General for India. He succeeded to the office as the 16th Attorney-General on 1 October 2022. His predecessor was K. K. Venugopal.[1]

Powers, duties and functions

The attorney general is necessary for advising the Government of India on legal matters referred to them. The attorney general also perform other legal duties assigned to by the President. Article 88 of the Constitution confers on 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.[2] 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. The attorney general also represent 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 has no executive authority. Those functions are performed by the Law Minister of India. Also the AG is not a government servant and is not debarred from private legal practice.

The Attorney General is permitted to receive briefs; however, they are precluded from advocating against the government. Moreover, the Attorney General is restricted from representing an accused party in criminal proceedings and assuming a directorial role in a company without the explicit consent of the government.

The attorney general is assisted a Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor Generals.[2] 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.

Fee and allowances payable

Fee and allowances payable to the law officers (including Attorney General for India, Solicitor General of India and the Additional Solicitors General) of the Government of India are as under:[3]

S.No. Nomenclature of the item of work Rates of fees payable for appearance and other work.
(1) Suits, writ petitions, appeals and references under article 143 ₹16,000/- per case per day
(2) Special leave petitions and other applications ₹5,000/- per case per day
(3) Settling pleadings (including affidavits) ₹5,000/- per pleading
(4) Settling Statement of Case ₹6,000/- per case
(5) For giving opinions in statements of cases sent by the Ministry of Law ₹10,000/- per case
(6) For written submission before the Supreme Court, High Court, and Commissions of Inquiry or Tribunals and the like ₹10,000/- per case
(7) Appearance in Courts outside Delhi ₹40,000/- per day per case

In addition to the above fee payable for cases, a retainer fee is paid to the attorney general for India, Solicitor General of India and the Additional Solicitors General at the rate of ₹50,000, ₹40,000 and ₹30,000 per month, respectively. Moreover, the attorney general for India is also paid a sumptuary allowance of Rs. 4,000 per month, except during the period of his leave.

Politicisation of the Attorney General

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Further information: Indian Emergency (1975–77), Bofors scandal, Taj corridor case, 2G spectrum case, and Indian coal mining controversy

It has evolved into a customary practice for the Attorney General to submit their resignation upon the inception of a new government. As the appointee of the government, the Attorney General serves as its advocate, implying a lack of complete neutrality. Nevertheless, holding a constitutional mandate, the Attorney General's viewpoints are subject to public scrutiny. Nonetheless, instances have arisen where the Attorney General's positions appear to have been notably influenced by political considerations.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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".[4]

During the UPA-II government (2009–2014), the conduct of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati was criticised in a number of cases. In 2G spectrum case, he became the first attorney general in India's history who had to testify as a witness in a corruption case in a trial court.[7][8] In late April 2013, in coal-gate scandal, Vahanvati was accused of misrepresenting facts in the top-most court of India.[9] Again in the same case, Vahanvati's role came under scrutiny after allegations of impropriety and coercion emerged from his junior law officer, Harin P. Raval, who resigned from the post of Additional Solicitor General as a result.[10]

List of Attorneys General for India

The attorneys general for India since independence are listed below:[11]

List of Attorneys General for India
# Attorney General Term Start Term End Term Length Prime Minister
1 Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad 28 January 1950 1 March 1963 13 years, 32 days Jawaharlal Nehru
2 Chander Kishan Daphtary 2 March 1963 30 October 1968 5 years, 242 days
Lal Bahadur Shastri
3 Niren De 1 November 1968 31 March 1977 8 years, 150 days Indira Gandhi
4 S. V. Gupte 1 April 1977 8 August 1979 2 years, 129 days Morarji Desai
5 Lal Narayan Sinha 9 August 1979 8 August 1983 3 years, 364 days Charan Singh
Indira Gandhi
6 Keshava Parasaran 9 August 1983 8 December 1989 6 years, 121 days
Rajiv Gandhi
7 Soli Jehangir Sorabjee 9 December 1989 2 December 1990 358 days V. P. Singh
Chandra Shekhar
8 G. Ramaswamy 3 December 1990 23 November 1992 1 year, 356 days
P. V. Narasimha Rao
9 Milon Kumar Banerji 24 November 1992 8 July 1996 3 years, 227 days
10 Ashok Desai 9 July 1996 6 April 1998 1 year, 272 days H. D. Deve Gowda
Inder Kumar Gujral
(7) Soli Jehangir Sorabjee 7 April 1998 4 June 2004 6 years, 58 days Atal Bihari Vajpayee
(9) Milon Kumar Banerji 5 June 2004 7 June 2009 5 years, 3 days Manmohan Singh
11 Goolam Essaji Vahanvati 8 June 2009 11 June 2014 5 years, 3 days
12 Mukul Rohatgi 19 June 2014 18 June 2017[12] 2 years, 364 days Narendra Modi
13 Kotayan Katankot Venugopal 1 July 2017 30 September 2022 5 years, 91 days
14 R. Venkataramani[13] 1 October 2022 Incumbent


  1. ^ "Senior advocate R Venkataramani is new Attorney General for India". The Indian Express. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Supreme Court of India – CONSTITUTION". Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Fee and allowances payable to law officers" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Milon Banerjee has devalued his position: BJP". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 30 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009.
  5. ^ "The govt's found a new foe in the Supreme Court".
  6. ^ "Asian Tribune". [dead link]
  7. ^ Kaushik, Krishn (1 May 2013). "Inside Man – The convenient opinions of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati". The Caravan. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  8. ^ "AG deposes in 2G case, Raja calls him liar". 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Coal-Gate: Attorney General misrepresented facts to Supreme Court, says letter bomb". 22 February 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  10. ^ Bhatt, Abhinav (30 April 2013). "Harin Raval resigns as Additional Solicitor General after Coal-Gate letter bomb". NDTV. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  11. ^ "". Archived from the original on 25 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ The Hindu (28 September 2022). "Senior advocate R. Venkataramani is the new Attorney General of India". Archived from the original on 1 October 2022. Retrieved 1 October 2022.