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Milon Banerji appointed Attorney General of India


June 05, 2004 22:12 IST

The government on June 5 appointed senior advocate Milon Banerji as the Attorney General of India, official sources said.

 

Banerji, 75, has been appointed as AG for the second time. Earlier, he held the post from 1992 to 1996 in the P V Narasimha Rao government. Banerji has also served as solicitor general from 1986 to 1989, while from 1979 to 1986 he was the additional solicitor general.

 

Banerji obtained his LLB degree in 1950 from the Allahabad University and completed his LLM from Cambridge University in 1953 before enrolling as an advocate of the Allahabad high court in 1955. He also practiced in the Calcutta high court.

 

He started practicing in the Supreme Court in 1960 and was designated senior advocate in 1972. During his first term as AG after being appointed for the post on November 24, 1992, Banerji appeared in the Ayodhya case before the Supreme Court, where he cautioned the apex court that the situation had grave and inaction by the court would make create an irreversible situation, forcing the court with a fait accompli.

 

Another landmark judgement, also related to the Ayodhya dispute, was the M Ismail Faruqui versus Union of India case in which the apex court upheld the validity of the acquisition of certain areas around the disputed site. Banerji also appeared before nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court dealing with dissolution of Legislative Assemblies and its consequences in the S R Bommai case on invoking Article 356. Incidentally, outgoing AG Soli J Sorabjee appeared for the petitioner in the matter.

 

On the power and functions of the Election Commission, he had the arduous task of defending the government on numerous cases and in one case the AG successfully persuaded the apex court to lay down the guidelines regarding consultative meetings of all concerned, including the Election Commission of India, so that constitutional functionaries could work in harmony.

 

A high point of his career came in 1993 when Banerji was called upon to address Parliament in context of rising acrimony about the powers of EC.


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