The Role of the Attorney General of India
The Role of the Attorney General of India


The Attorney General (AG) of India holds a pivotal position within the legal framework of the country, acting as the chief legal advisor to the Government of India. This role is enshrined in Article 76 of the Constitution of India, which lays out the duties and responsibilities of the Attorney General.

Appointment and Tenure

The Attorney General is appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Union Cabinet. The individual appointed must be a person qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, which means they must have been a judge of one or more High Courts for at least five years, or an advocate of a High Court for ten years, or an eminent jurist in the opinion of the President. Unlike other constitutional positions, the tenure of the Attorney General is not fixed and they serve at the pleasure of the President, allowing for flexibility based on the needs of the government.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Legal Advisor to the Government: As the chief legal advisor to the Government of India, the Attorney General provides legal advice and guidance on various matters. This includes interpreting the constitution, advising on legal disputes, and assisting in framing government policies to ensure their compliance with the law.
  2. Representation in Court: The Attorney General represents the Government of India in important cases before the Supreme Court and other courts. This representation is crucial in safeguarding the government's interests and ensuring that its actions are in accordance with the law and constitutional principles.
  3. Guardian of Public Interest: Acting as the guardian of public interest, the Attorney General intervenes in cases that have significant implications for the nation or its citizens. By upholding the principles of justice and fairness, the Attorney General plays a vital role in protecting the rights and liberties of the people.

Examples of Key Interventions:

  • In the case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala (1973), the Attorney General played a crucial role in defending the government's position on the scope of amending the Indian Constitution.
  • During the recent land acquisition dispute in a tribal region, the Attorney General provided legal counsel to ensure that the rights of indigenous communities were respected and protected.

Challenges and Controversies: Despite its importance, the role of the Attorney General is not without challenges and controversies. Balancing the interests of the government with the principles of justice and fairness can sometimes lead to criticism and scrutiny. Additionally, navigating politically sensitive cases requires a delicate approach to maintain impartiality and uphold the rule of law.

Limitations and Independence

While the Attorney General acts as the chief legal advisor to the government, their role requires a fine balance between independence and loyalty. They are expected to give impartial legal advice even if it is contrary to the government's stance. This independent perspective is crucial in upholding the rule of law and preventing misuse of power.

However, there are limitations to the Attorney General's functions. They do not have the right to appear in court against the government, and they cannot defend an accused in criminal proceedings without the government’s permission. These restrictions ensure that the Attorney General’s role remains aligned with the government’s legal interests and responsibilities.

Ethical and Professional Standards

The Attorney General must uphold the highest standards of legal ethics and professionalism. They must ensure that their advice is impartial and based on sound legal principles, even if it may not align with the political objectives of the government. This balance is crucial for maintaining the rule of law and the integrity of the legal system.


In conclusion, the Attorney General of India plays a multifaceted role in the country's legal system. From providing legal advice to representing the government in court, the Attorney General's contributions are indispensable to upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all. By fulfilling these responsibilities with integrity and diligence, the Attorney General remains a key pillar of India's democracy.

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