Solicitor General of India
The Solicitor General of India is the second law officer in the country, after the Attorney General of India who is the highest law officer in India. He assists the Attorney General and is assisted by several Additional Solicitors General of India. He offers legal counsel to the government and appears on behalf of the Union of India. The First Solicitor General of India was C.K Daphtary. Presently, it is Tushar Mehta.
The post of Solicitor General is merely Statutory and not Constitutional, unlike the post of Attorney General, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76 of the Constitution of India. In other words, the Solicitor General position was created by an act of Parliament and the post may be abolished by an act of Parliament.
Appointments of Solicitor General of India:
- The Prime Minister-chaired Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) recommends the appointment and President officially appoints the Solicitor General.
- The proposal for the appointment of the Solicitor General is typically moved to the level of Joint Secretary/Law Secretary in the Department of Legal Affairs. Once the Minister of Law and Justice has given his/her approval, the proposal then moves to the ACC and then to the President.
Tenure of Solicitor General of India:
Generally, the Solicitor General is appointed for a term of 3 Years, but he holds office during the pleasure of the President, which means he can be removed anytime by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet. He may also quit his office by submitting his resignation to the President. He/she is eligible for reappointment after ceasing to hold office.
Functions of Solicitor General of India:
Law officers (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1987 set down the responsibilities of the Indian Solicitor General.
- To perform any legal tasks or advice on any legal matters that the Government of India may from time to time delegate or assign to him.
- To represent the Indian Government in any case brought before the Supreme Court by the President in accordance with Article 143 of the Constitution.
- To appear on behalf of the Government of India in cases (including suits, writ petitions, appeals, and other processes) in which the Government is involved as a party, before the Supreme Court, or in any High Court.
- To carry out any additional responsibilities placed on a law enforcement officer by the Constitution or any other current law.
Limitations of Solicitor General of India:
- Without the Indian Government’s consent, the Solicitor General can not defend an accused individual in criminal prosecution.
- He can not hold briefs for any party in any court, except the Government of India, the Government of a State, or any body or institution in which the Government has a preponderant interest.
- The Solicitor General does not have the rights concerning his participation in parliament, unlike the Attorney General.
- He can not counsel any party against the Government of India or a public sector undertaking, in situations where he is likely to be asked to represent or advise the above-mentioned authorities.
- Without the permission of the Government of India, the Solicitor General can not accept appointments to any positions within any business or entity.
- The Solicitor General can not advise any ministry, department, statutory organization, or any public sector undertaking unless the reference is received through the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs.
The Solicitor General is an alternate, who fills in for the Attorney General whenever necessary. They are collectively known as the Law Officers of the Crown, and primarily their roles include advising the Government on legal matters and setting up the representation of the Government and various other public entities in court.