Uncertainty continues over Rohatgi’s appointment as AG

Even as uncertainty continued over the appointment of the 14th Attorney-General of India, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar took charge as Solicitor-General of India on Monday.

The Law Ministry also notified the names of senior advocates — P.S. Patwalia, Maninder Singh, Tushar Mehta, P.S. Narasimha, Neeraj Kishen Kaul and L. Nageshwara Rao — as Additional Solicitors-General. With this, the Narendra Modi government has made its first appointment of law officers.

However, there in no confirmation on the appointment of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi as the Attorney-General.

Till recently, Mr. Rohatgi’s appointment seemed like an open-and-shut case. Mr. Rohatgi had even outlined his future priorities in office, saying he would work to streamline litigation in the Supreme Court, ensure that the government was not caught in inter-ministerial litigation and superior courts were not bogged down by frivolous and petty cases.

But on Monday forenoon, the Attorney-General’s official chambers at the Supreme Court building remained vacant. The board outside the chambers still showed the name of its former occupant — Goolam E. Vahanvati. The delay in appointment of the Attorney-General has raised eyebrows. The Attorney-General’s is a constitutional office under Article 76 (1) of the Constitution and he is the top law officer representing the government in the Supreme Court. The person appointed should be qualified to become a judge of the Supreme Court.

Government sources said Mr. Rohatgi’s appointment would be notified this week. He had previously represented the Gujarat government in the Supreme Court in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, including the Best Bakery case.

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