‘Don’t seek legal opinion without consent’
Days after its top official was summoned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that probed the 2G scam, the law ministry has warned ministries and Central departments against seeking legal opinions without its consent.delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2011 01:10 IST
Days after its top official was summoned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that probed the 2G scam, the law ministry has warned ministries and Central departments against seeking legal opinions without its consent.
The ministry shot off a sternly worded letter to all the ministries and departments asking them “not to approach its top lawyers directly”.
The ministry, grappling with the issue of ministries and departments seeking tailor-made legal opinions from lawyers employed by it has stated it would not “own responsibility” of unauthorised opinions.
The law ministry, however, has so far remained silent on the critical remarks against its top law officer, Attorney-General GE Vahanvati, in the PAC report, for his controversial opinions to former telecom minister A Raja.
The PAC had summoned law secretary DR Meena on April 15, and asked if law officers were authorised to give opinions to other ministries without the law ministry’s consent. The law secretary, in his reply, had said that was against the rules.
“The law minister has issued instructions that whenever such opinions are sought directly from the law officers, it will be construed as unauthorised and repercussions/consequences of such advice would be the responsibility of ministries concerned,” states the letter.
A ministry official, however, said, “It is not linked to any issue and is a general advisory.”
The law ministry was caught in the controversy after reports of Vahanvati, who was solicitor general in 2007, having interacted with Raja without informing the ministry emerged. Vahanvati has denied the allegation, but the PAC report has said “it is quite intriguing that he (Vahanvati) had directly entertained a reference by Raja and the ministry must take a serious view in the matter.”