The Akali-BJP government, which created history by retaining power in Punjab, has changed the administrative and police chiefs. However, it has retained Ashok Aggarwal as advocate general. HT’s Sanjeev Verma spoke to Aggarwal about his roadmap and some contentious issues dogging the AG’s office. Excerpts:
HT: Why do you think you have been retained?
AG: There was an offer from the state government, which I accepted.
What reforms do you propose in the AG’s office?
Everybody is doing his best subject to human limitations. We are working in a professional office.
There is a perception that law officers are appointed on the basis of proximity to netas, AG, judges etc. What about an exam for selection?
This is not a practical suggestion. The British system of courts does not permit a lawyer to seek employment. On the contrary, the client seeks services. Here every lawyer is invariably requested by the appropriate competent authority to join as a law officer on his merit alone. And meritorious persons can be close to politicians and others.
What about lopsided distribution of work among law officers?
I disagree. The work is distributed as per aptitude of the law officer.
The high court has made adverse observations on absence of state counsel during the case hearings. What action have you taken?
It was unintended negligence and corrective steps are being taken. Any organisation with a substantial number of officers is bound to make bonafide mistakes.
A number of law officers were seen campaigning in the assembly elections. Can they do this?
No. The law officers are not expected to canvass. No such incidents have been brought to my notice. If such a case is brought before me, corrective steps would be taken.
You are seen as the costliest AG in Punjab.
It is a matter of opinion. No comments.