THE GOVERNMENT may not insist on holding back Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who has expressed his desire to quit, and is learnt to be in the process of choosing a new law officer for the post. Rohatgi wanted to part on “cordial terms”, and the government did not want to put pressure on him to stay back, sources told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
While senior lawyer Harish Salve’s name was said to be in consideration for the post at one point, Salve, who represented India before the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Yadav case, may not be keen on taking it up, according to reports. Now in London, Rohatgi had said on Sunday that he has written to the government and requested that he be relieved of the post of AG since he wants to return to private practice. Rohatgi was appointed the 14th Attorney General of India in June 2014. With his tenure getting over on June 6 this year, the Department of Personnel and Training brought out a notification on June 3 extending the tenure of all the top law officers: the AG, the Solicitor General and five Additional Solicitors General. The notification did not mention when the fresh tenure will end.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of term of law officers i.e. Attorney General, Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor Generals (Supreme Court) till further orders,” read the notification, leading some to speculate that the appointment was ad-hoc.
Son of former Delhi High Court judge Awadh Behari Rohatgi, Mukul Rohatgi was a sought-after corporate lawyer when he was made Additional Solicitor General by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999. As the AG, he represented the government in several important cases, the most recent being the challenge thrown up to the Union Finance Ministry’s scheme to link PAN and Aadhaar identities of income tax assesses.