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About Office

The Office of the Advocate General is a constitutional office created under Article 165 of the Constitution of India. The Governor of the State appoints a person who is qualified to be appointed as a judge of the High Court as Advocate General of the State. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of India-and has for at least 10 years held a judicial office in the territory of India or has for at least ten years been advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession. As per Article 177 of the Constitution of India, the Advocate General of a State shall have a right to speak in and otherwise take part in the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council and to speak or otherwise to take part in the proceedings of any committee of the Legislature of which he may be named as a member.

The post of Advocate General is a public office and he is the foremost Law Officer of the State. The Courts have held that a concession made by a Government Pleader may not bind the Government unless it is based on instructions from a responsible officer. However, that liberty does not apply to a concession made by the Advocate General as he is assumed to make a statement with responsibility.

In Karnataka, recently in January/February, 2009, the post of Additional Advocate General has also been created. The State in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 162 of the Constitution of India, is competent to appoint advocates of its choice and designate in such a manner as it may deem fit and proper. A person appointed as Additional Advocate General only becomes another Law Officer and he is not authorized to perform any constitutional or statutory functions.

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 Prosecutortakes 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.

Duties: The Advocate General appears in important constitutional and other cases before the High Courts, Supreme Court, KAT, 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.