Senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India, K. K. Venugopal is now the attorney general of India, replacing Mukul Rohatgi. Outgoing AG, Rohatgi’s term had ended on June 11. Earlier President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the appointment and the government will notify the appointment in a couple of days. After a number of prominent names made the rounds for the top constitutional post, K K Venugopal had himself called the speculation that he could very well be the next one as ‘premature’. The constitutional expert, Venugopal had told The Indian Express, “I came to know that two to three names are being considered… and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) will take a call once he is back from his official tour.” The Attorney General for India is the Indian government’s chief legal advisor and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. If appointed, Venugopal will probably the oldest Indian ever to hold the post.
An Attorney General is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President. Current attorney general Mukul Rohatgi was given an extension by the Union cabinet’s appointments committee as his tenure had ended on June 6. But he had expressed his desire to return to legal practice. Meanwhile, 86-year-old Venugopal, hailing from Kerala’s Kasargode district started his legal career in Mysore, in 1954, before practising at the Madras High Court under his father, late barrister M K Nambiar and brings over five decades of legal experience with him. He shifted to Delhi when he was appointed additional solicitor general after the Emergency in the 1970s. According to an IE report, in 1972 he was designated as a senior advocate and made his mark in several important cases, including the one pertaining to the Mandal Commission matter.
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Venugopal is well known for having appeared for BJP leader L K Advani in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Venugopal had represented A B Vajpayee and Advani when they were arrested upon imposition of the Emergency.
Meanwhile, in order to be an Attorney General, he/she must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court. He must also have been a judge of a high court for five years or an advocate of a high court for ten years or an eminent jurist and must be a citizen of India.