KK Venugopal to be new Attorney General, will take over from Mukul Rohatgi
A noted constitutional expert, Venugopal is the recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan.india Updated: Jul 01, 2017 00:59 IST
Eminent advocate and constitutional expert KK Venugopal is set to be the next attorney general of India, government sources said on Friday.
Venugopal, 86, replaces Mukul Rohatgi, who completed his 3-year term last month and expressed his desire against a second stint. President Pranab Mukherjee has cleared the appointment, the sources said.
“I expect an order to be notified in a day or two,” Venugopal told Hindustan Times.
In 1992, as the counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government, Venugopal refused to defend the BJP-led Kalyan Singh government in the Babri Masjid Demolition case before the Supreme court. He withdrew from the case saying “My head hangs in shame at the incident”. But he subsequently defended BJP leader LK Advani in the case.
Venugopal has also appeared in several high-profile cases, including the 2G telecom spectrum litigation in which he was the amicus curie. He also argued against reservation for OBCs in the Mandal case.
With over six decades of experience, Venugopal is among the sharpest legal minds in the country, once holding the office of the additional solicitor general of India during the Morarji Desai government in 1977.
Venugopal was born into a Nair family in Kerala, to the famous barrister KM Nambiar.
He got his law degree in 1954 from R L law college, Belgaum, and joined the bar at the Mysore High court and subsequently the Madras bar.
Venugopal was designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court of India in 1972. He moved from Madras to Delhi almost three decades ago.
Venugopal has been also been a great nurturer of talent. His chamber has produced many advocates of note such as former finance minister P Chidambaram, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, late M N Krishnamani and sitting Supreme Court judge Rohington Nariman. Besides, many high court judges too have come from his chambers.
Venugopal, has strong views over issues such as the appointment of judges. He believes there is a need to improve the existing collegium system of appointment of judges to the higher Judiciary, and had recently suggested more transparency in the process. He also believes that it is open for Parliament to phase out the collegium system by means of a constitutional amendment and replace it with a more broad-based appointments process.
He also favours the institution of four regional and highest courts of appeal against high courts, and a Supreme Court that deals only with cases involving the interpretation of the Constitution.
On the issue of death penalty, Venugopal thinks cases involving the capital punishment must be dealt with by a five-judge bench only as “deciding over somebody’s life is too heavy a responsibility to be borne by one judge individually”.
Venugopal is also an avid collector of art and books.