Tushar Mehta, who is originally from the Gujarat High Court, will hold the post till 30 June 2020.
New Delhi: The Central government Wednesday appointed senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta as the Solicitor General of India, the country’s second most senior law officer.
Mehta, who was appointed ASG in 2014 after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power, will hold the post till 30 June 2020, or until further orders.
The post of Solicitor General was lying vacant since 20 October 2017, when Ranjit Kumar put in his papers.
Sources said jockeying for the post by the existing government law officers caused the the delay in appointing a new Solicitor General.
ASG Maninder Singh and P.S. Narasimha, who also resigned last week apart from Mehta, were touted as frontrunners for the coveted post.
However, Mehta, considered close to BJP president Amit Shah, made the cut.
With Mehta promoted and Narasimha scheduled to complete his notice period in December, there are now just four ASGs left in the top court.
Originally from the Gujarat High Court, Mehta took over most of Kumar’s high-profile cases and has been representing the Central government in nearly every important case.
Mehta has represented the Centre and Maharashtra in several high-profile matters, including the plea for an investigation in the death of judge B.H. Loya, the plea seeking a stay on the deportation of Rohingyas, and the challenge to Article 35A, among others.
As an ASG, Mehta was also the lead attorney for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in the matter involving Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P. Chidambaram, in a money laundering case.
Mehta was also present when the Supreme Court refused to stay BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in ceremony in May despite a last ditch appeal by the Congress which resulted in a post-midnight hearing.
However, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case will be Mehta’s first big ticket case as the Solicitor General, if he retains it. So far, he was so representing Uttar Pradesh as an ASG.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the cases Mehta handles remain to be seen.
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