"Do Not Wish to Seek Reappointment as Attorney General," Mukul Rohatgi Tells Modi Government

Rohatgi was appointed as the AG on June 19, 2014 immediately after the BJP government came to power in May that year.

New Delhi: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, whose three-year tenure will end on June 19, has asked the government not to consider him for reappointment to the post.

Rohatgi told PTI that he had written to the government last month conveying his wish to discontinue as Attorney General and return to private practice.

He said the extension given to him by the government earlier this month was “adhoc”, till further orders, as it was done when the prime minister was on a visit to Russia.

“So, the government has to take a call on my decision,” he said.

Rohatgi said that he maintained a “good relationship” with the government and would come to its aid as and when required.

He said he was appointed by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power in May 2014 and he has served his term to his full satisfaction.

He said he considers this duration as the top law officer enough and does not want to be considered for reappointment.

“I have conveyed to the government last month that I don’t wish to seek re-appointment. I consider the three-year term as enough and I had also served the previous BJP government for five years. I would like to return to private practice,” Rohatgi told PTI.

He clarified that his letter conveying his decision not to seek reappointment should not be considered as resignation as his term is due to end.

“I will come to the aid of the government as long as I live,” he said.

Asked about his response if Prime Minister Narendra Modi insists that he continue, Rohatgi said, “I will cross the bridge when it comes.”

Besides Rohatgi, two additional solicitor generals P.S. Patwalia and Neeraj Kishan Kaul have also preferred not to seek reappointment as law officers.

Rohatgi was appointed as the AG on June 19, 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 appointment of judges for the higher judiciary.

He also defended the government which was in tussle with the Supreme Court Collegium of judges on the appointment of judges for higher judiciary.

Recently, he assisted the apex court in ‘triple talaq’ matter in which the judgement 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 apex court.

As a top law officer, Rohatgi defended the government’s policy of demonetisation in which the high denomination currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 were declared as not a legal tender.

Rohatgi had led a team of lawyers which had participated in the pre-dawn hearing in the apex court to oppose any relief to Yakub Memon, the lone death row convict in 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

He also appeared for the NDA government when its decision to impose President’s rule in Uttarakhand was challenged.

The top law officer also assisted the apex court which scrapped the controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act.