Hours after taking oath as Punjab’s Chief Minister on Thursday, Captain Amarinder Singh appointed his counsel and a close confidant Atul Nanda as the state’s Advocate General.
Nanda, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, had been Amarinder’s counsel in the case of his expulsion from the Vidhan Sabha wherein Amarinder had got relief from a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on April 26, 2010.
Nanda (51) has served as the state’s Additional Advocate General in 2002-2006 during the previous Congress government in Punjab.
Ashok Aggarwal, who was appointed Punjab’s Advocate General in 2011 during the SAD-BJP regime, had resigned on March 11 after the Assembly election results.
Strength of law officers in Punjab Advocate General’s office as on March 11 was 192. In the last five days, 15 law officers had submitted their resignations.
Nanda, who took charge Thursday evening, said his aim was to reduce wasteful litigation and adversarial litigation towards citizens. “I want to reduce the litigation by at least 40 per cent and would try my best to stand for the welfare of citizens,” he told The Indian Express.
He said he was going to meet the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Friday morning and would then consider as to how law officers in his team would be appointed. “Keeping in view the Supreme Court’s last year judgment on the appointment of law officers, I would also discuss the matter with the Chief Minister and would then decide whether there is a need for some legislation or not,” Nanda said.
Born in Jalandhar in a lawyer’s family, Nanda has been legal adviser to Captain Amarinder Singh for a long time.
Nanda also served as standing counsel for the Union government in the Delhi High Court from September 2009 to January 2011 during which he appeared in many sensitive cases, including the 2G case, the Women Army officers’ case, Haj committee cases, cases relating to defence tender and the Mayapuri radioactive leak case. He has also served as special counsel for the Central government in the Supreme Court.