Post of the Solicitor General, Centre’s second seniormost law officer, has been lying vacant since October 20, 2017 following resignation of Ranjit Kumar
Nearly a year after keeping the position of its second senior-most law officer vacant, the Centre finally has approved the elevation of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as the new Solicitor General.
Mehta, a senior advocate, who in his capacity as the ASG has been representing the Centre in a slew of politically and socially sensitive cases being heard by the Supreme Court, will be second only to Attorney General KK Venugopal in the hierarchy of the central government’s law officers.
It may be recalled that the Centre had kept the position of Solicitor General vacant ever since its last occupant, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, resigned on October 20 last year.
According to a note sent to the Centre’s Department of Legal Affairs: “the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Shri Tushar Mehta, senior advocate, as Solicitor General of India w.e.f. the date of assumption of office for a period till 30.06.2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier”.
Mehta who hails from Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and from where over a dozen occupants of the central government’s high offices now come from, has been serving as Additional Solicitor General since mid-2014 when the BJP came to power at the Centre.
Following Mehta’s elevation as the Solicitor General, the Centre has, apart from Attorney General KK Venugopal, six additional solicitor generals (ASGs) in the Supreme Court as part of its legal team. While the post of the Solicitor General has now been filled following a gap of nearly a year, vacancies for four ASGs, and a fifth one now following Mehta’s elevation, continue. There are 10 ASGs who represent the centre in different high courts while posts of two ASGs in the Gujarat and Jharkhand High Courts have also been lying vacant.
The ASGs in the Supreme Court now are Atmaram NS Nadkarni (whose term expires on May 9 next year), Maninder Singh, PS Narasimha, Pinky Anand, Vikramjit Banerjee and Aman Lekhi (their terms expire on June 30, 2020).
—India Legal Bureau