The law ministry has pulled up its senior-most law officer in the Delhi High Court for having represented a private party last week.
In a letter to additional solicitor general Amarjit Singh Chandiok, law secretary DR Meena has asked him to explain his appearance for a private power company, New Delhi Power Limited (NDPL).
Hindustan Times had first reported about Chandiok's appearance in the case on October 27, which even surprised the bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra.
The bench headed by justice Misra had heard Chandiok for some time under the presumption that he was appearing for the government till he told them that he represented the NDPL.
A shocked bench had later remarked: "All this while we were hearing you under the impression that you represented the government".
Chandiok, who also heads the high court bar association, said, “I have not received any letter from the ministry so far and I appeared only to assist the court. There is no wrongdoing."
This is for the second time in less than three months that the ministry has rebuked its law officers for acting independently without seeking permission.
In a letter to all the law officers on August 18, the ministry had reminded them that they were bound by the government rules of 1987 and they had no powers to take any decision without its nod.
Chandiok has come under criticism in the past also for accepting private briefs without the ministry's permission.
There have also been reports of law officers providing legal opinions to other government departments and public sector units without informing the law ministry.
The ministry is also understood to be upset with the law officers for freely airing their views to the media on sensitive legal matters being handled by them.