Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, whose three-year tenure will come to an end on 19 June, has asked the Central government not to consider him for reappointment or an extension as the country’s top law officer.
Rohatgi said that he had written to the government last month conveying his desire to discontinue as Attorney General and return to private practice.
He said that the extension given to him by the government earlier this month was "adhoc", till further orders, as it was done when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a visit to Russia.
"So, the government has to take a call on my decision," he said.
Rohatgi's decision instantly gave rise to speculation about his successor. A report in News18 quoted sources that point towards Harish Salve and Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar as possible candidates.
Salve, one of India’s most expensive lawyers, had recently argued India’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the death penalty awarded to alleged spy Kulbhusan Jadhav by Pakistan.
The report suggests that Kumar, who was appointed as the Solicitor General in 2014, is in the running but pointed out that he could lose out on the top post to Salve, given Modi's interest in having him.
Modi was inclined to offer the job to Salve in 2014, when the BJP government came to power, but Salve's offshore assignments at the time prevented him from doing so.
According to an Economic Times report, Modi had tried to persuade Salve to change his mind, and had even delayed the announcement of his pick. It was the second time that Salve had declined the coveted post. The first offer came under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime after Soli J Sorabjee wanted to step down after completing three years as Attorney General.
It was the second time that Salve had declined the coveted post. The first offer came under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime after Soli J Sorabjee wanted to step down after completing three years as Attorney General.
Rohatgi was appointed as the Attorney General on 19 June, 2014, immediately after the BJP government came to power in May that year.
During his three-year stint, he argued many contentious matters like the challenge to NJAC Act on the appointment of judges to the higher Judiciary. He also defended the government, which was in a tussle with the Supreme Court Collegium of judges over the appointments.
Recently, he assisted the apex court in the triple talaq matter, in which the judgment is reserved. He has also advanced the government's stand of defending the policy of Aadhaar, in which the issue of Right to Privacy has been raised and is pending before the apex court.
As a top law officer, Rohatgi had defended the government's policy of demonetisation in which the high denomination currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 were declared as illegal tender.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 18:11 PM