Vahanvati to succeed Milon Banerjee as attorney general

June 8th, 2009 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Monday appointed former Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati as the attorney general of India, the country’s top law officer.
“The President is pleased to appoint Goolam E. Vahanvati, Senior Advocate, as Attorney General of India for a period of three years with effect from 8th June 2009,” said a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique Monday.

He succeeds Milon K. Banerjee.

Vahanvati was appointed after a five-year stint as India’s second highest law officer, solicitor general of India, from June 2004 to June 2009 during which he defended the Congress-led UPA government in a host of important litigations and lawsuits.

The important lawsuits in which Vahanvati successfully defended the union government before the Supreme Court included the public interest lawsuits challenging the UPA government flagship legislation reserving 33 percent seats for various backward category students in centrally-run educational institutions of higher learning.

Vahanvati had also advocated the government’s stand before a nine-judge constitutional bench of the apex court, which examined the legality of various governments’ growing tendency to put laws enacted by them in the Ninth Schedule of the constitution to ensure that the matter is not subjected to judicial scrutiny.

Among other lawsuits he advocated is the government’s stand on journalist Kuldip Nayyar’s challenge to an electoral law, which did away with the stipulation that only a native of a particular state would be elected to the Rajya Sabha to represent that state in the upper house.

He also successfully defended the government in the matter related to closure of commercial establishments in Delhi’s residential areas and the scheme allocating Rs.2 crores to parliamentarians annually to develop their constituencies.

A graduate in arts and humanities from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and a bachelor in law from Bombay University, Vahanvati has served the Maharashtra government as its advocate general between December 1999 to June 2004.

Various important cases handled by him for the state government in the three benches of the Bombay High Court at Bombay, Aurangabad and Nagpur included those of Enron and cases of SEBI arising out of the stocks scam of 2000-2001.

An expert in constitutional laws, and those on administration, banking, insurance, import policy, customs, excise, corporate etc, Vahanvati had his fare share of professional experience abroad.

He along with Zimbabwe High Court Judge Steven Majiedt were appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in September 2004 to hold an inquiry into the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe.

Later, as a single-member panel, he also inquired into allegations of racial abuse against South African cricketers during the South African tour of Australia in December 2005.

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