In Part 1 of this two part interview, we spoke to Prof. Khagesh Gautam about his article in the Indian Express, prompted by the remarks made by Attorney General for India, KK Venugopal. We attempted to dissect further his argument about the autonomy of the office of the AG, and understand the politico-legal role played by the AG in India's Constitutional system. In Part 2, we carry forward our discussion by comparing the Constitutional Scheme in the US and UK, with that of India, insofar as it concerns the powers of the Attorney General. Prof. Gautam also discusses the role of legal luminaries and personalities like Nanabhoy Palkhivala, Niren De, among others, in shaping this office since Independence.
Mr. Khagesh Gautam is an Associate Professor of Law and Assistant Dean (Research and Publications) at Jindal Global Law School, India. He received his LLM from Columbia Law School, United States, as a Stone Scholar in May 2013. Prof. Gautam also holds an LLB from Campus Law Center, University of Delhi, and a B.Com from Kurukshetra University, India. He holds vast experience in litigation on Constitutional and Tax Law, with an illustrious record of practice - particularly, before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Notably, Prof. Gautam authored three papers on these subjects that were published by the prestigious journal of Value Added and Service Tax Cases.
1. In the British system, on which our Constitution is modelled, the AG is a member of the cabinet. Article 88 of India’s Constitution provides the same authority to Ministers and the AG with regards to appearance in Parliament. Furthermore, Art. 76 lays down a mechanism for appointment and term of the AG that too, is largely similar to those of a minister. Given the similarities, how then do you make the argument that the position of the AG in India is sui generis?
Ans. I don’t accept that premise that the Indian Constitution is totally modelled on, and therefore largely similar to the British system. See, Latin maxims aside, the position of the AG can never be said to be equivalent to that of a Minister. A Minister cannot appear on a vakalatnama [Attorney-Client Retainer Letter] in a court case for his or any other Ministry. A Minister cannot practice law on the side. Besides the strains of public life being what they are can a Minister really find the time to do anything other than run the Ministry and do other party work? I think not. Can an MP practice law on the side? That’s a question pending, [a] case is going on [in this regard]. Besides there are genuine constitutional reasons to argue that a Minister (who used to practice law at the Bar before he entered in public life) cannot hold any legal brief as an advocate. By the same logic, a Minister cannot appear in court as Government’s Counsel. But to get appointed as Minister, even the Law Minister, there is no reason for one to have been a lawyer before (though it certainly might help when you get active in the party). The AG, or SG, or anyone else, has to be a lawyer practicing at the Bar. So, to that extent the position is not similar.
Second, the AG is not privy to the internal functioning of the Cabinet, and every Minister has to swear an oath of secrecy, before they take the office of a Minister. This is notwithstanding whether they are a sitting MP, or whether they’ll contest an election later on. The AG has no such oath. The AG is not a member of the Cabinet, cannot participate in the internal workings of the Cabinet, is not privy to those files. The AG is only privy to the litigations in the court, and to any document that might be disclosed to him in the discharge of his official duties to give advice to the government. The AG stays in office so long as the appointing authority retains their pleasure – the Doctrine of Pleasure. So, if the pleasure is withdrawn, the AG cannot continue to serve, but if the pleasure continues, and when the term of the Cabinet comes to an end, the AG has to resign – though he may be reappointed.
So, I personally don’t think that the AG in our system can in any way be compared to a Minister. The AG certainly has a right to address the Parliament, but that is a right given by the Constitution. Is it the case that the AG is the only non-elected person to have the right to address the Parliament? No. The President can appoint MPs – appointment by nomination. Those MPs are not elected by anybody, but they have a right to address the Parliament. Furthermore, if an impeachment proceeding is taken against a Judge, or even say, against a President; the Judge, or the President concerned have a right to be heard. They can have any lawyer present to defend them. So, addressing the Parliament cannot be a ground to deem the office of the AG as equivalent to that of a Minister.
2. What functions, assigned to the institution of AG assigned under India’s Constitution or enacted statutes, do you believe are adversely impacted by erosion of autonomy? In other words, how does the erosion of AG’s autonomy impact the principle of rule of law underlying India’s Constitutional Governance?
Ans. I believe the question has been answered to some extent above. But I’ll explain again. I personally have taken considered view that our system was an experiment in semi-presidential.Not like the French system, but a completely new experiment in semi-presidentalism. I also believe that it might not have been very apparent to the drafters of our Constitution when they prepared the document but when when we take a look at it now, some 70 odd years after its preparation and working, a different picture emerges.I have written elsewhere in great detail showing as to how and why this is the case.[Reference is here to an article published by the interviewee in the Columbia Journal of Asian Law.]If we go by the theory proposed in that article then the President is not bound to follow every advice tendered by the Cabinet under the Presidential Aid & Advice clause [Article 74]. Mind you, the article only focuses on the relationship between the President and the Cabinet.In that article I wrote that if the President determines that the constitutionality of a certain advice tendered by the Union Cabinet is suspect, he can call on, amongst others, the AG to help him determine that questions. He can call on others too.
This, I argued, was the first safety value in our system – a presidential review of constitutionally suspect political decisions. This happens before full judicial review in the courts. If the President is convinced that following the advice of the Cabinet will force him to violate, or act contrary to, his oath of office (which is to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution), he may refuse to follow that advice. He can’t do anything else – except refuse to follow that advice. It would then be up to the Cabinet to figure out the way forward in effective consultation with the President. But the President has no constitutional authority to govern the republic – the responsibility of governing the nation rests solely with the Cabinet with the PM at its head. So the President can’t govern the nation in guise of this power.
In this kind of a system, an independent AG is crucial. Before the President comes to the decision that the advice tendered to him is of suspect constitutionality, it might be possible that the AG has already told the same thing to the government. So when the President calls upon the AG to help him decide this question – what stand do you think the AG is going to take? Even otherwise, like I said above, say the AG was not consulted but in his opinion the actions of suspect constitutionality or downright unconstitutional (like the Bommai example above) – what stand do you think the AG will take? Now, in this kind of a scenario, the AG’s autonomy is paramount. In the ultimate analysis it will depend on the strength of character of the people holding his high constitutional offices. But a legal framework that secures and protects the autonomy of the AG will go a long way in the right direction. Ultimately though, I go by what Dr. Ambedkar said after the Constitution’s drafting – how strong the Constitution will turn out to be will depend of the character of people working it and not how the document is written. If an AG can’t advice the President or the Government freely, what kind of rule of are we talking about? If an AG feels, or is, compelled to defend political decisions of the government that are of suspect constitutionality or legality, it would be a sad day for rule of law in our young republic.
3. What factors, in your opinion, have contributed to the reduction in the AG’s autonomy since Independence? Are there any particular AGs who you think are responsible for this?
Ans. I believe that the AG-ship of Mr. Niren De, who was the AG for Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s government. He was counsel in almost all of the important cases, like The Privy Purses Case, Bank Nationalisation Case, Golak Nath Case – all of which the government lost. Then there was the Kesavananda Bharati Case, which technically they [the Government] won, but actually they lost. Then they also lost Minerva Mills Case. With the sole exception of ADM Jabalpur – which has now been overruled [in the Puttaswamy Case of 2017] – they lost all cases. I am not a student of history, [and] there is not much material available [on this subject], either. None of these judges or lawyers ever wrote about their experiences – except, for [Nanaboy Ardeshir] Palkhiwala – and one source is not enough to base your opinion. However, the kind of things [that Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi was doing, any self-respecting AG would’ve said ‘look, this you cannot do.’ Who knows? May be Niren De did.
Distinguished Lawyer Nanabhoy Palkhiwala (center).
More than that, then to make an argument in the Supreme Court, that even when Emergency is invoked, people can be killed without [any recourse] (sic). This famous exchange [in the court], is recorded in Seervai’s 3 volume work on constitutional law, and I think also in Justice Khanna’s memoirs (Neither Roses Nor Thorns) was unbecoming. Though Niren De was a fine lawyer and argued many important cases. He even congratulated Justice Khanna on his dissent in ADM Jabalpur, an episode recorded by Justice Khanna himself in his memoirs. But on the other hand the ugly exchanges between Palkhiwala and Niren De during Basic Structure Case have also been recorded by other commentators. So, maybe Niren De did not personally agree with everything that Mrs. Indira Gandhi did, but he went along.
On the other hand, you have the example of Palkhiwala, who was offered the [office of the] AG, he accepted it – and then, before the Press Release could be made, he changed his mind and declined. In his biography, written by [MV] Kamath, it is mentioned that Palkhiwala was very clear, that ‘I cannot do what I want to do, if I accept the AG-ship,’ so he declined.
Then there are other AGs in recent memory whose discharge of the office has left much to be desired, to be kind. If the AG allows himself to be influenced by the political waves of the day, then I think they are surrendering. That is not the way the office is supposed to be discharged. The AG is not a politician, so whatever is politically desirable should be left to the politicians. Let the politicians deal with it, if it is right, it is right, and if its wrong, its wrong. The people will talk about it, the opposition will talk about it, and ultimately if the people don’t like it they will have their say in the next elections. Before that the Courts might intervene. And unknown sometimes to the people, the President might have intervened. Somebody in the Cabinet might object. The party might taken an exception. There are enough checks and balances in the political system.
However, for an AG to be doing things that can even be remotely be attributed to the politics of the day is, I believe, something that the AG should not do. In the end, it is a call to be made by the person holding the office. So, we can only say that’s not desirable to do. Let’s hope wise minds prevail after that.
4. Have there been other instances in the past where actions or statements made by AGs would indicate an erosion of the office’s autonomy? What other tangible evidence is suggestive of this trend?
Ans. The question requires me to travel far beyond the point made in the newspaper article that prompted this interview. Whether or not there is any other tangible evidence suggestive or erosion of the AG’s office’s autonomy is a question that I can’t answer because I have not made any concerned effort to scientifically collect any evidence to that extent. It does make for interesting academic research and perhaps some scholars would be inclined to take up this project. However, the point made in the article was a principled one. The AG is representing the Union of India – not the people who happen to be in office at a given point of time. The AG is representing the institution, not an individual.
[Interviewer Interjection: This is where the distinction between the of and for [in the article] arises?]
Yes, that’s the main point. To be representing the Cabinet as an institution vs. representing a particular member of the cabinet are completely different things.
[Interviewer Interjection: In what sense?]
If a lawyer is tasked to defend a Minister, allegedly involved in a criminal case of some kind, the client is the Minister – not the Ministry, or the institution of that Minister. The Minister here is an individual, so you get your instructions, do whatever investigation is necessary for the purpose of putting up a strong defence, study the evidence – prosecution’s and yours, and defend your client in the court of law, and let the judge decide. You win some, you lose some – that is the nature of the profession. However, when you represent an institution, and note that the Cabinet is a constitutional institution – when you represent the Government, you are representing more than an individual. See, an institution always is bigger than an individual. People come and go, some may be powerful enough to leave their impact on the institution, but the institution is always bigger than any one individual. The AG is always representing the institution, and not an individual.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in a lawyer making a certain statement on behalf of his client in a court, or in a public event. It is completely acceptable, we are a free nation of laws, and a lawyer can do it. However, when you’re discharging a particular role, then some things you say might be misunderstood in a certain way. That distinction must be kept in mind at all points of time by anybody who is holding the office, or talking about it.
A newspaper clipping from The Hindu (1975).
In simple words, and for example, to represent the President is distinct from representing the Presidency. The AG is not the lawyer hired by a particular Minister, or a group of Ministers, or the Cabinet. He is a lawyer appointed by the President, to the defend the Government, not the people who happen to be in government today. That is why, the image I get in mind is kind of like a Bhism Pitamah – an old, wise man, or a woman (about time we had a woman AG), taking a non-political stand on things. When push comes to shove, what an AG will do is upto him/her. Palkhiwala accepted the appointment, and rejected it the next day before the press could even be notified. Niren De did things I have already spoken about. How to discharge the office is upto the individual AG – some will be good, some, well, not so good. However, at the end of the day, all AGs must be aware that they are representing the Government, and not the people who happen to be in office right now. When you’re representing the Government, you have to take the long view. You cannot afford to make statements that are liable to be misinterpreted.
5. The AG in the US is nominated by the President, and confirmed by the US Senate like every other member of the Cabinet (with the exception of the Vice President). He/she simultaneously heads the Justice Department as well, the Indian equivalent of which would be the Law Minister. Yet, recent past has seen American AGs assert their independence, even against the President. Why then has India failed to maintain the autonomy of the AG, despite the creation of an independent office?
Ans. First of all, I don’t accept the hidden premise in your question that successive AGs have failed to maintain the autonomy of the AG because of what I said earlier – there is lack of systematically collected historical evidence on the basis of which any reasonable determination of the kind could be made. Second, I don’t think that the comparison can be made at all. Subject to correction, my limited knowledge of the American system tells me that the US DOJ [Dept. of Justice], of which the AG is the head, he [the AG] never appears in the court, the Solicitor General does (sic). I am yet to find any reported US Supreme Court decision where the AG’s appearance has been noted by the Court – it is always the Solicitor General who appears in the Court or the SG’s deputies. In fact reported US Supreme Court decisions show clearly that the AG can actually be sued in federal judiciary – and has been by, for example, ACLU etc. To suggest that the AG in India can be sued would be ludicrous – the AG can’t be sued. So there is really no comparison to be made between our AG and the American AG.
Secondly, the FBI, I understand, is under the jurisdiction of the DOJ. Now, that means the AG is the actual boss of whoever heads the FBI. Whereas, in India, the CBI [the Central Bureau of Investigation] – the rough equivalent of the FBI – if it can be called an equivalent at all (because we do not have the concept of a federal crime, criminal law in itself is a State subject), the DSPE [Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946] creates a special body [which we all know as the CBI] which reports to the Union Home Minister (sic).
See, the system is so completely different that there is no comparison to be made. Why in the US the AGs are asserting their independence is a function of their politics, which I am not well qualified or learned enough to comment on. May be it is a party thing – Republican party or the Democratic party is fed up of a particular incumbent President and the AG has enough support from the party to assert independence. I can’t really say unless I venture in the realm of speculation – something that I am not inclined to do.
Founding Father and the 4th President of the United States of America, James Madison.
[Interviewer Interjection: So is there any reason why you quoted Madison and Hamilton in your article?]
Yes, the reason why I quoted some old US authorities, was only to show that the importance of the office of the AG in the US was so much that at some times, you were expected to discharge that office at great personal sacrifice. The salaries were pathetically low, you had no office, no clerks, nothing. When people actually left the AG-ship, to go back to their law practice to make more money, showed that at one point of time people were expected to sacrifice, but then the tide turned and people came to realize that if you want a decent AG then you have to pay more money. The other point is that during the drafting of our Constitution it was argued that the salary of the AG be protected by law. Now, salaries of the judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts, are all protected [from being reduced during their tenure] by the Constitution – they can only be increased.
Now, the point was made in the Constituent Assembly that if you are going to have an AG who is going to be as good as a SC judge, you might as well give him/her protection of remuneration. This was not done. This was just all circumstantial historical evidence to harp upon the point that it was always expected that the AG will be a person of a certain moral, and legal stature. It was expected that the AG would be a wise person – a very calm, sensible counsellor – somebody the Government go to in order to seek sage advice on important constitutional and legal issues. That is the manner in which the AG was expected to discharge this high constitutional office. This is because in the Constituent Assembly, at one point of time, it was said that the seven judges of the Supreme Court (originally there were seven judges in the SC), would be like the Saptrishi [seven sages in Hindu mythology] – detached from the dust and tumble of everyday politics, deciding cases according to law. If the seven judges were envisioned as the Saptrishi, and the AG was supposed to be as good as them [in qualification], then there is no reason to presume the AG should be anything different. This is the point being made in the article, that the AG is supposed to be a wise and sage counseller to the Government, guiding them on what the Constitution say and does, or does not, permit. I personally believe that politics is an important part of any free society; and in a democratic republican system based on a written constitution where judiciary is independent – like the one we have – politics must be practiced within constitutional limits. We can’t bend our Constitution to suit our politics. We must practice our politics in a manner consistent with our Constitution. If we don’t do that we disrespect our founding document, and to borrow a phrase from Palkhiwala – we will eventually end up ‘defacing and defiling’ our Constitution. I might even take the liberty of stating that the AG could be in many cases the first line of defence against potentially unconstitutional and illegal actions being contemplated by those sitting in the executive branch. Many a proposal by the executive branch to act in a manner the legality or constitutionality whereof is suspect, and also whereof the jurisprudence and legal precedents are silent, can be prevented if the AG gives proper advice and the advice is actually heeded by those to whom it is addressed.
[Interviewer Interjection: So if they [the political class] do so [cross the line], the AG is still bound to defend it in court?]
Defending a case in the court of law is different. I am right now talking about the Executive Branch taking advice from the AG to see what can, or cannot be done. If the AG says that this is permissible, and that is not – that should ideally be the end of the discussion. This is where the office of the AG becomes extremely sensitive, because when one advises the Executive branch, there is always an element of politics involved. This is because, those sitting in the executive branch are all politicians. There is nothing wrong with their actions, either – they’re practicing politics. In my vocabulary, politics is not a bad word. Politics, in my view, is necessary for a republic, and as a republic, we cannot function without politics. At the same time, we cannot have a politics that goes beyond the permissible limits of the Constitution. Imagine a simple example, where a law is intended to be introduced in the Parliament. The Minister/Cabinet seek the AG’s opinion, and the AG opines that, ‘I believe this is unconstitutional’. Also presume that this [the AG’s opinion] is so clearly supported by case law, that to go against this advice, would be tantamount to overruling the AG. The government shouldn’t do it in the first place.
6. Control over the Justice Dept. entitles the AG in the US to supervision over the FBI, which is then frequently used to credibly investigate high level corruption, extending even to the White House. Similarly, would you argue that supervision of the CBI should be placed with the AG, instead of the Law Ministry and CVC, so as to provide the office with more tools to assert its independence and also to inoculate the CBI from political influences?
Ans. That’s a very difficult question to answer and also quite outside the scope of the newspaper article with which we started. Protecting the CBI from political influence is easier said than done. There are successive National Police Commission reports, that say that the police at the state level is also influenced by local politicians. The local SHO [Station House Officer] will file a case, [or] discharge people before the charge-sheet has been filed – the Law Commission has lamented this, the National Police Commission has spoken about it, many court decisions also talk about this. Not that the police can’t do it. Sec. 169 of the CrPC permits this. It was always about the manner in which this power is exercised rather than whether the power should be there or not. There is enough material on this, and how do you do it practically, is the question.
My limited understanding of how the CBI works tell me that the Director of the CBI reports to the Union Home Minister. The Director of the CBI should, ideally, not report to anyone at all. I believe, after the Vineet Narain’s Case, there is a system wherein the CVC has some sort of oversight over the CBI. I am not sure how it exactly works, however, one completely radical solution is to make the post of the CBI Director a Constitutional one. But I am not sure if this will be very effective. At least no sensible discussion on this has as of yet taken place in our country. As an aside, you might want to ask why? Is this not a question that our politics should address? I believe it is. Has it been? I believe not. So what is the level of political discourse in the country. Sometimes it is more important to think about the questions that the politics of a country is not addressing rather than the ones that are being addressed. Or, in the alternative, give the Director some security of tenure – it is there presently, I believe one has to serve for 3 years. That certainly does not seem to have solved the problem as would be clear from a review of relevant litigations in the Supreme Court in last several years.
There are some Latin American nations, where the ultimate supervision of the Federal Police, like for instance in Argentina, lies in the hands of the AG – making the latter a very important position. However, in all those systems, the AG is a member of the Cabinet, while the President is the head of the Cabinet. All these individuals then, are politicians in those systems. So, an AG who has control over the national police, if the President starts doing corrupt things, can rally support in his political party, and enforce laws through the Federal Police, so as to become a potential candidate against or at least a political opponent of a sitting President. This can be done, it has been done in the past, and it is a part and parcel of politics. At the same time, if you have a very strong President, you can have a puppet AG. Even the FBI I believe has been manipulated in the past. So it is incorrect to suggest that the FBI cannot be managed – it may be difficult to do so, but I think it has been done. The CBI has been managed in India, but the CBI has also done very good investigations. It is the best investigative agency we have in our country and whenever the CBI has been allowed to do its job properly and without interference they have brought home some very important cases. So, the CBI is a tool, the question is ‘in whose hands do you put that tool?’ and ‘what happens if they don’t want to use that tool properly?’ Inherently, there is nothing wrong with the CBI, but the problem is the manner in which this tool has been used. You can use a wrench to close a leak, but you can also hit someone on the head with it.
You cannot solve these problems only by the law. I don’t believe that constitutionalizing the post, or giving certain tenure protections to the CBI chief is going to help in anyway. The only way it can be changed, unfortunately, is I believe, by changing the character of the people in office – which is a function of politics. For that the level of political discourse has to rise above the level where it is currently at. Courts cannot solve all the problems, some things are a function of politics. Whether they will change, when they will change, is a function of politics. I don’t think they will change soon. I don’t think there is any way in the foreseeable future where the CBI, or even the local police, can be prevented from conducting themselves in the way they shouldn’t. This is because entire political class, all elections, are conducted on the basis of caste, or on the basis of religion, or some sort of communal or sectarian issues. Study after study shows us that what matters in the elections in this country are considerations of caste, or other similar considerations. These issues are simply no-where in the political discourse. When they do things would change. When that would be is anybody’s guess, and my guess is that most probably it is not going to be anytime soon.
Another problem is regarding the manner in which police work. Sometimes on investigation officer is investigating 30-50 cases at one point of time. 50 open cases to be investigated with one officer is a travesty of justice right there. Overworked police are bound to make mistakes. We can’t fault the police – they are also trying to do the best job that they can do given the circumstances in which they have to work. At least those who take the profession of policing seriously and with some pride are. So, the problem of policing in this country is not at one level, it is at many levels. As a percentage of budget, how much money is spent by a State Government on the police? It is miniscule, you can check exact numbers.
7. To conclude, what steps can be taken, both legislatively and otherwise, to restore the autonomy of the AG? How can the larger public be convinced, especially on questions that enter such nuanced technicalities, of the importance the independence of the AG?
Ans. Restoring the autonomy assumed that it was conceded at some point of time. I don’t think it was every conceded. Nor do I think that the constitutional provisions have some inherent flaw that cause any such concession. No legal or constitutional steps are therefore needed. The change, if any, must be in the manner in which we do things in our country. I believe I have spoken about this in response to previous questions so there is not point in me repeating myself here.
In matters of advising the government of matters constitutional and legal, I personally would put the AG above the Law Minister. The AG being a very senior and respected member of the Supreme Court Bar, being someone who is constitutionally required to be as good as a SC Judge, I would put the office of the AG at a higher pedestal, than that of the Law Minister. And the office of the Law Minister I would put pretty high as it is since it is a constitutional position as well. But the office of the AG is mentioned in the questions and has specific provisions to govern it. The Law Minister, when he stands in the Parliament, stands with the entire Cabinet. We call it the doctrine of collective responsibility. The AG stands alone and does not, for the large part, stand in the Parliament. He stands in the Supreme Court which could be much more challenging to stand before when constitutional and legal matters are concerned. That is why I put AG above the Law Minister.
The Cabinet should never try to nudge the AG to give a certain advice to them. That would be the travesty of justice. If the government even attempts to influence the AG that would be wrong. Let’s say we have a strong AG who says, ‘I am not going to be influenced’ – good for the people. However, for the government to even think of influencing the AG to obtain a particular advice is extremely unbecoming of any representative, democratic govt. They may still choose to do it but it is unbecoming. Then, for the AG to allow himself to be affected, is even more unbecoming. If that moral fortitude or discipline of character is shown by anybody, I don’t think there will be any problems. After that, whatever problems there will be, will be political problems, which our political system is strong enough to solve, without the intervention of our courts. I have great faith in our system. If people do not cross their boundaries, then our system is completely capable of handling any kind of situation. However, when you start manipulating people in the system to get things done that is the time we start doing things which are legally, or constitutionally suspect. This should be avoided. Outside of that, it’s a free country – politicians can practice politics, lawyers can practice law, judges will decide cases.
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About the Interviewers
Prashant Khurana is a student of Law at the Faculty of Law, Delhi University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Hansraj College. He is an accomplished debater, and an active participant and organiser of Model United Nations Conferences and was recently offered the position of Chairperson at the University of Kent, United Kingdom for their MUN conference. He has appeared as a guest panelist on Headlines Today News Channel and has also interviewed personalities such as Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Dr. Sambit Patra, the Ambassador of Canada to India, among others.
Kamya Vishwanath is a first year law student at the Jindal Global Law School. She is extremely passionate about her political opinions and reads extensively about the subject. A strong advocate of mental health and combating stigma around the same, she has interned with the Spastics Society of Karnataka and the Center for Law and Policy Research and continues to write passionately about mental illness. A strong believer in the philosophy of individualism, Kamya aims to leave behind a lasting legacy in every task she undertakes.