Advocate General of State
- The Advocate General of a State is a Constitutional post and authority duly appointed as per Article 165 of the Constitution of India.
- The authority and function of Advocate General is also specified in the Constitution of India under Article 165 and 177.
Article 165: Advocate General for the State
- The Governor of each State shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of a High Court to be Advocate General for the State.
- It shall be the duty of the Advocate General to give advice to the Government of concerned State upon such legal matters and to perform such other duties of a legal character; as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the Governor and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this constitution or any other law for the time being in force.
- The Advocate General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor, and shall receive such remuneration as the governor may determine
- Every Minister and the Advocate-General for a State shall have the right to speak-in, and otherwise take part in the proceedings of Legislative Assembly of the State or in case of a State having a Legislative Council; Both Houses, and to speak-in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, any committee of the Legislature of which he may be named a member but shall not; by virtue of this Article, be entitled to vote.
Appointment and Term of Advocate General of a State
- The advocate general is appointed by the governor. He must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of a high court. In other words, he must be a citizen of India and must have held a judicial office for ten years or been an advocate of a high court for ten years.
- The term of office of the advocate general is not fixed by the Constitution. Further, the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal.
- He holds office during the pleasure of the governor. This means that he may be removed by the governor at any time.
- He may also quit his office by submitting his resignation to the governor. Conventionally, he resigns when the government (council of ministers) resigns or is replaced, as he is appointed on its advice.
- The remuneration of the advocate general is not fixed by the Constitution. He receives such remuneration as the governor may determine
Duties and Function of Advocate General of a State
As the chief law officer of the government in the state, the duties of the advocate general include the following:
- To give advice to the government of the state upon such legal matters which are referred to him by the governor.
- To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to him by the governor.
- To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.
- In the performance of his official duties, the advocate general is entitled to appear before any court of law within the state.
- Further, he has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of the state legislature or any committee of the state legislature of which he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
- He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of the state legislature.
- The Advocate General appears in important constitutional and other cases before the High Courts, Supreme Court, Water Disputes Tribunal etc. and defends the action of the State Government. The Advocate General advices the Government in matters which are referred to him by the Government. The Advocate General is also the Head of the Department of the Office of the Advocate General.
Example of Advocate General role or other information like in Karnataka State
- Functions: The principal activity of this department is to conduct the cases pertaining to the cases before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka at its Principal Bench, Bangalore, Benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga, Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums, Consumer Disputes Redress Commission of State/National and the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India where the interest of State of Karnataka and its Departments needs to be defended.
- The Advocate General is the Head of the Department and he is the principal legal advisor to the Government. A team of Law Officers comprising the Additional Advocate General. The Government Advocates, the State Public Prosecutors, the Additional State Public Prosecutors, the Additional Government Advocates and the High Court Government Pleaders have been appointed to look after the litigation work. The Law Officers including the Addl. Advocate General work under the guidance and supervision of the Advocate General. The Advocate General has been endowed with all administrative and financial powers.
- The Administrative Officer supervises the entire ministerial work of the office of the Department. He is assisted by Assistant Administrative Officers, one at the main office, one at the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal Unit Office, one at Gulbarga Unit Office and one at the Dharwad Unit Office. There are Section Officers and Audit Officer. The day today work relating to administration is taken care of by the Administrative Officer.
- The Advocate General is the top-most Law Officer who takes care of matters before the High Court as well as before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Advocate General is also consulted in matters relating to water disputes as well as other issues having legal ramifications. Before the High Court, the Advocate General generally appears only in matters relating to important legal issues and in matters which has far reaching ramifications for the State Government. The Advocate General is the Ex-Officio member of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Karnataka Law Commission & Karnataka State Bar Council.
- The State Public Prosecutor takes care of all criminal matters and the State Public Prosecutor also functions under the Advocate General. The work relating to various subjects in the High Court is distributed among different Government Advocates and Government Pleaders.
- Similarly, the criminal work is also distributed among the State Public Prosecutors, Additional State Public Prosecutors and others. All Law Officers are governed by the Karnataka Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1977.
- These rules applied to District Government Pleaders, Office of the Advocate General, State Public Prosecutors as well as the advocates appearing before the Supreme Court. The Law Officers are entitled to remuneration as prescribed under the above Rules.