In what may open a Pandora’s Box over the manner in which state governments are appointing law officers, the Haryana government has told the Supreme Court it has 183 law officers, who were engaged without complying with any norm.
The state informed the court it has Advocate General as the only validated post of the law officer and all other 183 appointments of additional advocate general, deputy advocate general and assistant advocate general cannot be held to be public employment. An additional advocate general is paid Rs 1.4 lakh as salary every month.
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“The engagement of law officers are not governed by any rules and regulations,” stated Haryana’s affidavit, adding their engagement is primarily on the basis of recommendations made by the Advocate General.
It admitted no search or selection committee has ever been constituted to invite applications and scrutinise the names and “discretion” rules the roost in appointing such officers.
The affidavit said concerned high court is also not consulted in appointment of these officers and the Advocate General, in his absolute discretion, can engage any lawyer for representing the state government before courts.
Underlining “trust and confidence” is very relevant in appointments of law officers, Haryana said that these appointments should be considered as an “exception” to the general rule of appointment.
It said all other law officers except the Advocate General were contractual appointments and their engagement can end anytime. This affidavit has come days after the court slammed the Punjab government over appointment of law officers.
A bench led by Justice T S Thakur had said such appointments cannot be an act of “political appeasement” and must be transparent.
Punjab has 174 law officers who were appointed without following any norms.
The same bench will examine Haryana government’s affidavit on Wednesday.