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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Article 76 - Attorney-General for India
The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.

76. "Attorney-General for India.- (1) The President shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court to be Attorney-General for India .

(2) It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other law for the time being in force.

(3) In the performance of his duties the Attorney-General shall have right of audience in all courts in the territory of India .

(4) The Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine."

The Attorney General is the first Law Officer of India . He is the Chief Legal Advisor to the Central Government and also acts as a lawyer in the Supreme Court on behalf of it. He also represents to the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution. All references are made to the Attorney General by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

In USA the Attorney General has an executive authority, but in India the Attorney General has no such authority. The Attorney General is not a neutral person because he is selected by the Central Government and acts as its advocate in the Supreme Court.

Article 76 envisages exclusively the provisions for Attorney General. This Article has four clauses which collectively fulfill the provisions in respect to him. Clause (1) of the Article prescribes that the Attorney General is appointed by the President and his qualification is equivalent to the qualification of a puisne Judge of the Supreme Court. Clause (2) states his advisory duty to the Government of India. Clause (3) speaks of his right to audience in all courts in India . Clause (4) provides that his tenure of office is subject to pleasure of the President of India and his remuneration shall also be determined by the President.

This Article is an original one and has not yet been amended. From the very scrutiny of the language of this Article it is inferred that it should be amended so as to cope with the present day legal scenario.

The functions mentioned in the Article are not clear cut provisions because in addition to legal advice the Attorney General performs other functions also. The present Attorney General Shri Goolam E. Vahanvati is the member of the Supreme Court Arrears Committee which was inter alia constituted for the purpose of identifying the pending cases in the High Courts which need to be heard and disposed of on priority basis. He is also the Member of the Supreme Court e-committee. He is also the ex-officio member of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee as also the ex-officio Vice-President of the Supreme Court Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society. Further the Union Ministry of law refers the legal matters to him.

This Article is also silent about his assistants. In practice he is assisted by the Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor Generals.

Clause (4) of the Article provides that his salary or remuneration is determined by the President. The present remuneration of the Attorney General is ` 90,000 per month which is equivalent to that of a Judge of the Supreme Court.


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