Editor's Note: KK Venugopal has taken over as the new Attorney General of India. This article, originally published on 28 June, 2017, is being republished in keeping with the latest report.
After former attorney-general, Mukul Rohatgi asked the NDA government to not reconsider him for reappointment to the top constitutional post, the race to become the country's new top law officer has intensified. After Rohatgi's term came to an end on 19 June, a number of prominent names are making the rounds.
While the current solicitor general Ranjit Kumar and former solicitor general Harish Salve are among the favourites to take over from Rohatgi, another name has now entered the contention: senior constitutional expert KK Venugopal.
According to a report in The Times of India, 86-year-old Venugopal has emerged as the front-runner for the top job, and the government is waiting for a final approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, once he returns from his three-nation tour to Portugal, the US and the Netherlands.
If appointed as the Attorney General of India, he will probably the oldest Indian ever to hold the post. However, Venugopal brings over five decades of legal experience with him.
Born in 1931, Venugopal was a meritorious student of the prestigious Madras Christian College. However, according to an article in Lawyers Update, he was forced to opt for the law after falling ill just before graduating from college. Interestingly, his father MK Nambiar was also a renowned lawyer, who fought the AK Gopalan versus the State of Madras case.
Venugopal graduated with a law degree from Raja Lakhamgouda Law College, Belgaum. Enrolled as an advocate in 1954, he was designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court of India in 1972.
A major highlight of Venugopal's career came in 1979 when he was made the Additional Solicitor General by the then Janata Party government.
KK Venugopal takes over as the next Attorney General of India pic.twitter.com/CKU9En8rym
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 3, 2017
Being a constitutional expert, Venugopal has appeared for various cases involving the infringement on the Constitution of India. He has appeared in high profile cases like the Puducherry Assembly speaker election case, Karunanidhi Ministry’s dismissal case (1976) and the Babri Masjid case. He was also instrumental in urging the Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the Mandal Commission to stop an escalation in student violence.
It is his expertise in constitutional law which prompted Nepal and Bhutan to seek his help in drafting their respective constitutions.
A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Venugopal is also one of the highest paid lawyers in India, with a report in Legally India, pegging his fee per appearance between five to 15 lakhs. The Chennai-based lawyer was also the amicus curiae in the 2G Spectrum scam, helping the Supreme Court in monitoring the CBI and ED investigations, The Times of India reported.
With over five decades of experience in the judiciary, Venugopal is a supporter of judicial reforms in India. On the question of increasing burden of cases on higher courts, the eminent lawyer has given the idea of establishing final courts of appeal in the four metros of Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.
"His experience and stature in the Supreme Court and legal circles make him stand head and shoulders above the others," The Times of India quoted an anonymous source as saying.
Updated Date: Jul 03, 2017 13:16 PM