Attorney General of India

Article 76 Provides for an Attorney General of India.  Attorney General is Indian government’s chief legal advisor and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

Qualification to become AG

The person must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court. The following are pre-qualifications for a Judge of the Supreme Court:

  • Citizen of India
  • Minimum five years service as a Judge of a High Court or 10 years an advocate of a High Court
  • A distinguished jurist in the opinion of the president.
Appointment and remuneration

As per article 76(1) President of India appoints Attorney General for a term which is decided by President. The attorney general holds the office during the pleasure of the President. The Attorney General represents the government but is also allowed to take up private practice, provided the other party is not the state. Because of this he is not paid salary but a retainer to be determined by the President. The Attorney General gets a retainer equivalent to the salary of a judge of a Supreme Court.  This retainer is paid from Consolidated Fund of India.


The Attorney General is the first law officer of the government of India and acts as top advocate for Union Government.  He is responsible for giving advice to President / Government of India upon such legal matters and to perform such other duties of legal character which are assigned to him by the President.

Attorney general has right of audience in all courts within the territory of India. He has also the right to speak and take part in proceedings of both the houses of parliament including joint sittings. However, he cannot vote in parliament. Further, attorney general can also be made a member of any parliamentary committee but in the committee also, he has no power to vote.

Attorney General has all the powers and privileges that of a member of parliament.

Private Practice

Attorney General is not a full time Government servant. He is an advocate of the government and is allowed to take up private practice, provided the other party is not the state. Further, he can not defend the accused persons in criminal matters without permission of the government.

Attorney General versus Advocate General
  • Attorney General is the highest law officer of the country, while the Advocate General is the highest law officer of a State in India.
  • Attorney general is appointed by President, Advocate general is appointed by the Governor of the state (article 165).
  • The advocate general holds the office during the pleasure of the Governor and his remuneration is decided by Governor of the state in question.
Attorney General versus Solicitor General

While the Attorney General is highest law officer of the country, solicitor general is the second highest law officer. A Solicitor General assists the Attorney General of India. The Solicitor General is himself/ herself is assisted by four Additional Solicitors Generals. The job of Solicitor General of India is confined to appearing in the courts on behalf of Union of India.

Attorney General Versus Law Minister

If there is a need to seek advice on legal matters, Law Minister is superior to Attorney General. In fact all references are made by the law ministry to the Attorney General.

India’s Attorney General Versus UK’s Attorney General

In Britain the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet. In India Attorney General is not a member of the cabinet and in cabinet, there is a Minister of law. Though the Attorney General has privilege to address both the houses of the parliament and enjoys same immunities and privileges as other MPs in India.


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