Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Pardeep Kumar Rapria has appealed to Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to keep in mind the law framed by the Supreme Court while considering the Haryana Cabinet’s decision to amend Haryana Law Officers (Engagement) Act, 2016, through ordinance to grant extension to its existing law officers after expiry of the present contract. It was on Rapria’s petition that the apex court had framed guidelines last year for appointment of law officers in Haryana and Punjab.
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In his representation, also sent to the Additional Chief Secretary of Haryana Administration of Justice Department, Ram Niwas, Rapria has mentioned that the January 4 Cabinet decision was contrary to the SC ruling in Krishan Kumar Singh & Anr Vs State of Bihar on January 2 and in Pardeep Kumar Rapria Vs State of Haryana and others on March 30 last year. “The ordinance route by the Haryana government clearly appears to be a fraud on power or an abuse of power by the Haryana Cabinet. This essentially involves a situation where the power has been exercised to secure an oblique purpose of circumventing the law settled by the Honourable Supreme Court under Article 141 of the Constitution of India,” reads the representation.
The Indian Express had highlighted on January 3 that it was at the behest of certain politicians and higher-ups in the government who want their ‘favourites’ on the coveted posts at the Advocate General’s office that the amendment to the Act was kept as one of the agendas at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for January 4.
Rapria has also submitted that it was a clear case of allowing back-door appointments to the coveted AG’s office, without following the procedure prescribed in the Haryana Law Officers (Engagement) Act, 2016, and without statutory consultation with the judiciary, according to the SC guidelines.
Rapria also argued that law officers at the AG’s office were already surplus.