Mukul Rohatgi, AGEa lawyer known for his candid arguments and terse submissions will return as India’s attorney general from October 1.
Also read:Mukul Rohatgi wants to be Attorney General again
This will be Rohatgi’s second term as the country’s chief justice officer. The BJP-led NDA government elected him AG shortly after coming to power in 2014. He remained in office until 2017, before veteran attorney KK Venugopal took over. The third extension of Venugopal as AG ends on September 30th.
The son of a former High Court judge in Delhi, Rohatgi, 67, was appointed Senior Counsel in 1993 and later appointed Additional Solicitor General in 1999. His first tenure at the center’s law firm ended with the change of government in May 2004. In his capacity as ASG during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, Rohatgi represented the government before the Supreme Court on the Gujarat riots and fake encounter cases in the year 2002.
After a thriving private practice in the Supreme Court and High Courts of Delhi and Bombay, Rohatgi agreed to become the Modi government’s first AG as a challenge from the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) raged in the Supreme Court.
Rohatgi could not defend the law, but he caused a stir in the court with his frequent, unflinching attacks on the collegiate system of judge appointments during the controversy in the 2015 case. He even told the five justices on the bench that the quorum worked on a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch you” principle. Rohatgi went further and submitted a 10-page list of names, which the college pushed forward despite concerns raised by adverse reports from the Intelligence Bureau and critical comments from its own judges – but to no avail.
The next major case in which Rohatgi appeared for the center was the Aadhaar case, in which the lead attorney again made headlines by arguing that a person does not have absolute authority over their body and it is not a recognized right to privacy under it give to the constitution. His testimony completely changed the course of the case and required a nine-person bench to decide the nature of the privacy rights. More than 700 days after Rohatgi’s amazing testimony, the matter was finally settled, with the Constitutional Chamber unanimously ruling in August 2017 that privacy is a fundamental right in India. However, when the matter finally came to the Supreme Court, it was Rohatgi’s successor, KK Venugopal, who faced the impressive lineup of nine judges.
Some of Rohatgi’s major triumphs as AG came when he spearheaded the arguments on behalf of the center to demand the invalidation of Triple Talaq, to defend the validity of the criminal defamation law, and to question the prosecution of members of the security forces for alleged extrajudicial killings represent Manipur and playing the national anthem in front of motion pictures.
After his AG tenure, Rohatgi became a sought-after advocate, representing state governments, politicians, industrialists, large business houses and individuals fighting for freedom.
In 2018, the Maharashtra government appointed Rohatgi as special prosecutor in the death of Judge BH Loya, in which he successfully secured a clean bill for the state government. He also represented the Maharashtra government in its attempt to defend the Maratha Quota Law, which was eventually ruled unconstitutional. He has also appeared for the governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.
Rohatgi appeared on behalf of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the murder case of former Punjab Prime Minister Beant Singh, to argue for Rajoan’s decree. He successfully represented journalists Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai, Congresswoman Shashi Tharoor, comic artist Rachita Taneja, Amazon Prime (India) creative director Aparna Purohit in cases involving hate speech and offending religious sentiment.
Rohatgi has routinely appeared for Facebook and WhatsApp in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, where a number of lawsuits related to various government directives are currently pending.
Rohatgi recently appeared for former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren, former Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, leader of Shiromani Akali Dal, Bikram Singh Majithia, former Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana, former Mumbai Police Commissioners Paraambir Singh and Sanjay Pandey, real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal. the Future Group in the Amazon Vs Future saga. He also secured bail for Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, in a drug bust case.
The Senior Counsel loves to travel and is the proud owner of a fleet of supercars. He is an art connoisseur and his personal collection includes paintings by several famous artists including XXXXXX, XXXXXX and XXXXX. In addition to light thrillers by authors such as Jeffrey Archer, Rohatgi also enjoys historical books.