Rohatgi has been appointed as the 14th AG of india and will have a tenure of three years. Rohatgi, 59, will succeed Goolam E Vahanvati.
Rohatgi’s career, which was revolving around Delhi High Court, took a decisive turn when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government appointed him additional solicitor general in the Supreme Court in 1999, exactly five years after he was designated senior advocate at the age of 39 years.
Law runs in Rohatgi’s family. His father started practicing in 1947 and became a judge of Delhi High Court in 1972, a post from which he retired in 1985. His wife Vasudha too is a registered legal practitioner, though she has kept a very low public profile. Her father too was a well-regarded senior advocate, G L Sanghi. One of the lawyers’ chamber blocks in Supreme Court is named after him.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who had earlier defended several accused in the alleged 2G spectrum illegal allotment case registered by CBI, will have to now stand against them in various courts as he is the Central government’s top law officer. Assuming the office as attorney general of India , Rohatgi said he will recuse from all those cases relating to 2G, in which former telecom minister A Raja was the prime accused and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, also a former minister, is one of the co-accused facing trial. “I will recuse from appearing in all those ongoing cases pertaining to 2G spectrum scam as there is conflict of interest,” Rohatgi said.
Speaking about the prevailing system on the appointment of judges in high courts and Supreme Court, the government law panel chief said more transparent system is required.
Suggesting that “Judicial Commission,” would be the better option , the senior advocate said judicial accountability is essential and supported Chief Justice of India R M Lodha’s suggestion that the Supreme Court collegium should consult some eminent lawyers with great integrity for the appointment of judges.
“Whatever norms applies to the Executive on transparency should apply to the Judiciary also,” the senior most law officer said.
Expressing disagreement with CJI who suggested that courts should function for 365 days like hospitals to reduce the backlog of cases, Rohatgi said “lawyers cannot work for 365 days. The courts should rather curtail the vacation period from seven weeks to two weeks only.”
With regard to the backlog of cases in the apex court, Rohatgi said the Supreme court should remain as the constitutional court only and it should not entertain various appeals in petty cases.
Further, he said even the top court should not hear the direct appeals from various Tribunals as this is one of the reasons for pending cases.
Other steps suggested by Rohatgi included weeding out old laws and reducing procedures.
There should be a multi-pronged attack to reduce the pendency of cases and there should not be petty appeals. Over the decades, bureaucrats didn’t take a view about larger issues and left it to the courts to decide about them; this attitude has to change.