Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad

M. C. Setalvad
Attorney General for India
In office
28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963
Personal details
Born Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad
Occupation Lawyer

M. C. 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 is mandated for legal reform in the country by Government of India.[2]

He was award 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, Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad was brought up in Mumbai. 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 life

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]

Law Commission

The first Law Commission of independent India was established in 1955. The Chairman of this Commission was Mr. M. C. Setalvad, who was also the First Attorney General of India. The term of this Commission was established as three years (which by convention has been followed till date) and this Commission submitted its last report on 16 September 1958. The reports submitted by the First Law Commission of India are as under;[8] Report No. Date of Presentation Title of Report 1 11 May 1956 Liability of the State in Tort 2 2 July 1956 Parliamentary Legislation relating to Sales Tax 3 21 July 1956 Limitation Act, 1908 4 1 August 1956 On the proposal that High Courts should sit in Benches at different places in a State 5 11 May 1957 British Statutes Applicable to India 6 13 July 1957 Registration Act, 1908 7 13 July 1957 Partnership Act, 1932 8 1 March 1958 Sale of Goods Act, 1930 9 19 July 1958 Specific Relief Act, 1877 10 26 September 1958 Law of Acquisition and Requisitioning of Law 11 26 September 1958 Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 12 26 September 1958 Income Tax Act, 1922 13 26 September 1958 Contract Act, 1872 14 16 September 1958 Reform of Judicial Administration


  • My life; law and other things, 1970.


External links

  • M. C. Setalvad, Biography
  • Indian Express
mr:मोतीलाल चिमणलाल सेटलवाड
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