M. C. Setalvad


Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad (c. 1884 – 1974) was an eminent Indian jurist, who became the first and longest serving Attorney General for India (1950–1963).[1] He also remained the Chairman of the first Law Commission of India (1955–1958), which has mandated for legal reform in the country by Government of India. He became the first Chairman of the Bar Council of India in 1961.[2]

M. C. Setalvad
Attorney General for India
In office
28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963
Chairman, 1st Law Commission of India
In office
Personal details
Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad
Parent(s)Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad (Member of Hunter Committee which was formed to investigate Jallianwala Bagh Massacre)
RelativesTeesta Setalvad(grand daughter)
Known forIndia's first Attorney General.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour by Government of India in 1957.[3]


The son of noted lawyer Sir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, M. C. Setalvad was brought up in Bombay. He studied at Government Law College, Mumbai.

He started practicing law in Bombay and eventually became Advocate General of Bombay and Attorney General for India in 1950, in the formative years of Government of India, under Jawaharlal Nehru.

He appeared for the government in a host of important and, at times, controversial cases. He was also involved with the Radcliffe Tribunal for demarcation of the India-Pakistan border and several UN proceedings on Kashmir. He chaired the first Law Commission of independent India, in which capacity he not just advised the government on crucial reforms and legislation but also created a framework for the Commissions’ future functioning.[4]

He died in 1974.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

His son, Atul Setalvad (25 October 1933 - 22 July 2010)[6] was a Mumbai-based lawyer and his daughter-in-law Sita Setalvad, a rural crafts exponent, while his granddaughter, Teesta Setalvad, is a journalist, activist and educationist.[7]


  • My life; law and other things, 1970.
  • Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad (1968). Bhulabhai Desai. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.


  1. ^ "Rule of law versus rule of judges". The Hindu. Oct 26, 2006. Archived from the original on November 27, 2007.
  2. ^ First Law Commission: Chairman Mr. M. C. Setalvad 1955-1958 Law Commission of India.
  3. ^ "Padma Awards". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
  4. ^ "M.C. Setalvad". Bar Council of India. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  5. ^ memorial
  6. ^ Obituary of A.M. Setalvad
  7. ^ "Teesta in full flow". The Tribune. November 28, 2004.

External linksEdit