Himachal Pradesh high court on Wednesday, sought details of expenditure incurred by the state government in engaging a private counsel after sidelining the advocate general and goverment advocates.
A division bench comprising chief justice Kurian Joseph and justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary passed this order while hearing a contempt petition filed by one Rajinder Mohan Sharma against the state for not complying with the order of September 3, 2010 passed in civil writ petition.
The court issued a direction to the state chief secretary to file an affidavit about the expenditure incurred by the government during the last ten years in engaging the private counsel, avoiding the advocate general and government advocates. The court also inquired whether in such cases the government had duly looked into the justification for engagement of a counsel other than the advocate general and government advocates.
It should also be clarified in the affidavit as to what is the expenditure incurred for defending the government officials in contempt petition by engaging private counsel.
The chief secretary should also clarify whether in the light of the instruction issued in the years 1996 and 1998, with particular reference to the conduct of the contempt petition, there should be permission to the government officials again to engage private counsel.
Still further it shall be clarified as to whether the government has ever looked into the justification for avoiding advocate general in appearing for the state in such cases.