R. Venkataramani Replaces Senior Attorney KK Venugopal
Senior advocate R. Venkataramani, a longtime Supreme Court of India counsel, has been appointed the new Attorney General (AG) of India by President Droupadi Murmu for a period of three years. Senior Attorney KK Venugopal, whose tenure as AG expired on September 30, was succeeded by him. Senior attorney Mukul Rohatgi declined the government's offer to become the new attorney general just a few days before he was appointed. Prior to leaving in June 2017, Mr. Rohtagi held the job for three years. He was succeeded by Mr. Venugopal, who was given a three-year appointment. Mr. Venugopal had asked for and got two one-year extensions from 2020. But because of his senior age, Mr. Venugopal asked the Law Ministry in June not to extend his contract beyond three months.
Born in Pondicherry on April 13, A graduate in physics from Loyola College, Chennai, Venkataramani studied law at Pondicherry Law College. Mr. Venkataramani, a former member of the Law Commission, made headlines most recently after being named the receiver and amicus for the homebuyers in the Amrapali housing dispute in the Supreme Court. In July 1977, Venkataramani registered with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu to become a lawyer. In 1979, he began working for prominent Supreme Court advocate P P Rao. In 1982, he established a solo practice at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India designated him a senior counsel in 1997. He was reappointed to the Law Commission of India in 2013 for a second term after being appointed in 2010 for the first time. Venkataramani has served at the Supreme Court for 42 years. Between 2004 and 2010, he served as a special senior counsel for various Government of India departments in the Supreme Court and high courts.
Venkataramani is also an internationally known jurist. He was a member of the "Expert Group on Welfare Legislations" established by the Indian Planning Commission in 1990 and of the South Asian Task Force on Judiciary, a group of nations from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that was charged with compiling reports on the state of the judiciary. In the wake of an international conference held in Berlin in May 2002, he is also a member of the international working group developing an instrument on the right to food. He was also invited to participate in the process of drafting and exchanging experience for the Nepalese Constitution (2008). Books on "Land Reforms" (co-authored: 1975), "Judgements of Justice O Chinnappa Reddy" (Former Judge of the Supreme Court) published by the International Institute of Human Rights Society (1995), the volume on "Torts" in the series of Halsbury's Laws of India, and Restatement of Indian Law are among his numerous publications (Public Interest Litigation).
Soft-spoken and unassuming, Venkataramani made a name for himself as one of India's most knowledgeable and intelligent lawyers. He has expertise practising law in a variety of fields, with a particular emphasis on constitutional provisions, indirect tax laws, human rights laws, criminal and civil laws, consumer protection laws, and business law. In addition, he has defended the National Government, several State Governments, higher education institutions, and Public Sector Organizations in significant legal disputes before the Supreme Court and High Courts. These cases involved the Supreme Court's employees.
According to Venkataramani's juniors, he has mentored numerous attorneys. He acquired the quality of being a lawyer-turned-teacher while studying under professor Madhava Menon, a renowned expert in legal education. He continues professor Menon's legacy by teaching 50 aspiring attorneys the craft of advocacy through MILAT (Menon Institution of Legal Advocacy and Training). In addition, he enjoys composing poetry and occasionally on legal topics, albeit usually for "personal consumption". He has a number of publications to his name, nevertheless. The Supreme Court Practice & Procedure and a book on Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy's rulings are among the books he co-authored and later published. He also co-authored his first book in 1975.
Everybody's life has an inspiring story hidden inside. Nobody knows if these things happen by chance or by design. The government's "out of the box" approach can be seen in Venkataramani's appointment. Given that Venkataramani has kept a non-partisan image throughout his career, the senior advocate's selection surprised legal professionals. He is a serious scholar, a man of actual learning, a wise old man who will give wise counsel and have a calming impact.