R Venkatramani is an Indian lawyer with more than 42 years of experience in the Supreme Court of India. On 28 October 2022, he was appointed as the fifteenth Attorney General of India for a period of three years (with effect from October 1, 2022) by the President of India. Previously, he was a member of the Law Commission of India and served as the Senior Advocate for the Government of India in the Supreme Court.
R. Venkatramani, also known as Venkataramani Rajagopalan was born on Thursday, 13 April 1950 (age 72 years; as of 2022) in Pondicherry (now Puducherry). His zodiac sign is Aries. He studied at Government Law College, Pondicherry, and was a student of the Late Prof. Madhava Menon.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about his parents & siblings.
Wife & Children
R. Venkatramani is married to Vijayalakshmi Venkataramani. Together, they have a son named Anandh Venkataramani, who is also a law professional. Anandh is an associate at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.
Madras High Court
In July 1977, Venkatramani got associated with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and practised at the Madras High Court for around two years.
Supreme Court of India
In 1979, Venkatramani shifted to Supreme Court practice, joining the chambers of late Constitutional expert PP Rao. Subsequently, he set up an independent practice in the Supreme Court and was designated as a senior advocate by the apex court in 1997. From 2004 to 2010, Venkatramani served as special senior counsel for various central government departments in Supreme Court and High Courts. He also appeared as Supreme Court’s counsel in matters pertaining to the service conditions of employees of the court and has represented central government, various state governments, universities, and public sector undertakings in their major lawsuits in High Courts and Supreme Court. With over four decades of practice at the Supreme Court, R Venkatramani specialises in various branches of law prominent constitutional law, the law of indirect taxes, human rights law, civil and criminal law, consumer law, and the law relating to services.
- Amrapali Case: The Supreme Court in its judgement dated 23 July 2019 appointed R. Venkataramani as the Court Receiver. The Court in its judgement said,
We appoint Shri R. Venkataramani, learned Senior Advocate, as the Court Receiver. The right of the lessee shall vest in the Court Receiver and he shall execute through an authorized person on his behalf, the tripartite agreement and do all other acts as may be necessary and also to ensure that title is passed on to home buyers and possession is handed over to them.”
- Hijab Row Case: R. Venkataramani was also involved in the Hijab row case in the Supreme Court of India. Venkataramani defended the Hijab ban on behalf of two school teachers, saying different spaces in the community required public order.
R Venkataramani has contributed to several commissions in India including the Law Commission of India, Equal Opportunity Commission, and Constitution Review Commission. In 2010, Venkatramaniwas appointed as a member of the Law Commission of India for a period of three years. In 2013, his membership was extended for another term. He played a key role in delivering the report on setting up the Equal Opportunities Commission. Venkataramani also served as the co-opted member of the ministry of minority affairs’ expert group, a group constituted by the ministry of minority affairs to examine and determine the structure and functions of an equal opportunity commission. Under the chairmanship of M. N. Venkatachaliah, Venkataramani has also looked after the Constitution Review Commission’s work.
On 28 October 2022, the 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu, appointed R Venkatramani as the fifteenth Attorney General of India for a period of three years. He succeeded K K Venugopal and took over the position with effect from 1 October 2022. Expressing his happiness over his appointment and thanking people for it during an interview, Venkataramani said,
I am deeply grateful to all these people who have made this possible for me. There are many of them. And I must also thank the Honourable Prime Minister, Home Minister and Law Minister for placing confidence in me to take up this very sensitive assignment. And I only wish and pray that given the assistance I have been bestowed with by all my friends, I will be in a position to discharge this responsibility without fear or favour and without ill-will and to the best of my abilities.”
Apparently, prior to Venkataramani, the senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi was offered the position of Attorney General. However, Rohatgi declined the centre’s offer to return as the attorney general without giving a specific reason.
Venkataramani is also associated with several academic institutions including the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (associated since 1988), The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun, Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida. He is a visiting faculty at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana, and Symbiosis Law School, Noida. Rajagopalan has also been involved in framing legal education programmes for young lawyers and law teachers at National Law School, Bangalore, and Commonwealth Legal Education Association.
Previously, he was also engaged as a resource person at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal. He has extensively worked to bring about reforms in legal education and has been actively involved in exploring new areas of legal theory and jurisprudence like science and law, science, technology, and public policy. A member of the South Asian Task Force on Judiciary, consisting of Members of SAARC Nations, Venkataramani was involved in the submission of reports on the conditions of the Judiciary, reforms in Institutional structures, and conditions of service. In 1997, Venkataramani was appointed as the chairman of the Independent Monitoring Panel constituted by The World Bank, the Government of India, and the National Thermal Power Corporation. The panel was set up to monitor and give advice on the rehabilitation of people displaced by the NTPC projects in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Venkatramani has represented India at various international events, workshops, and seminars related to law. From 4 March to 6 March 2001, he attended a workshop on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenants on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 1966, as a speaker.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva. He has also been involved in the activities of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Afro-Asian region, especially concerning the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In May 2002, Venkatramani, after attending an International Conference held in Berlin drafted an Instrument on the Right to Food in association with the International Working Group. In 2008, he was involved in the Nepalese Constitution drafting and experience-sharing exercise.
R. Venkatramani has several law publications to his credit including,
- In 1975, he co-authored a book on ‘Land Reforms’ in the Tamil language.
- In 1990, Venkatramani authored a book titled Judgements of Justice O. ChinnappaReddy (former justice of the Supreme Court). The book was published by the International Institute of Human Rights Society.
- He has also authored a volume on ‘Torts’ in the series of Halsbury’s Laws of India, published by Butterworths.
- R. Venkatramani has published several articles on Constitutional Law mainly related to liberty, human rights and the role of law, and legal education and environmental law.
- He is a contributor to the annual review of the Indian Law Institute (ILI), New Delhi.
- He has co-authored Restatement of Indian Law: Public Interest Litigation. The book was sponsored by the Committee on Restatement of Laws – Joint Committee of the Supreme Court of India and the Indian Law Institute.
- In his leisure time, R. Venkatramani loves reading and writing poetry.
- One of the most erudite and astute lawyers in India, Venkatramani was awarded a SKOCH India Law Award in 2022 for his exemplary service to Law.
- He is a lifetime member of Several Lawyer’s Associations in India and has been involved in their activities.