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Top HC officer ignored notice by law ministry

A senior law officer representing the government in the Delhi high court has ignored a showcause notice issued to him by the law ministry for having appeared for a private power distribution company and for allegedly having questioned the transfer policy of judges.

delhi Updated: Jan 04, 2011 01:10 IST
Nagendar Sharma

A senior law officer representing the government in the Delhi high court has ignored a showcause notice issued to him by the law ministry for having appeared for a private power distribution company and for allegedly having questioned the transfer policy of judges.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Amarjit Singh Chandiok has so far not replied to the two letters written to him by the law ministry on November 1st last year, according to a reply given by the ministry in response to a right to information (RTI) application by a city resident, Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

The ministry, however, has declined to furnish information under the RTI Act, related to correspondence between it and the country's top law officer, the Attorney General, GE Vahanvati on the issue of his appearance in private cases. It has merely stated that Vahanvati was allowed to appear for the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) in the Supreme Court.

Citing news stories published in HT, Agrawal had sought information from the ministry on the action taken by it after it was revealed that Chandiok had appeared for the New Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) and during the farewell party of a Delhi high court judge, he had slammed the transfer policy of the Supreme Court and high court judges.

In its reply, the ministry has said: "The reply from AS Chandiok, additional solicitor general of India, has not been received till date."

It has stated the law secretary had written to the ASG seeking his comments.

In the first letter, law secretary DR Meena, had drawn Chandiok's attention towards media reports regarding his appearance for a private company. "The law officers (conditions of service) rules, 1987, prohibits a law officer from appearing on behalf of a private party without prior approval of this ministry."

In the second letter, Meena has referred to Chandiok's speech at the farewell party of justice SN Aggarwal of the Delhi high court.

“Since you are holding the post of ASG, it would not be appropriate for you to speak against the policy of the central government. I would like to have your comments with regard to your appearance and comments,” the law secretary wrote.

The ministry, however, has taken a different stand in case of the AG. It has said copies of its communication with Vahanvati "cannot be provided under the various clauses of section 8 of the RTI Act".

The ministry has said its correspondence with the AG, which is a constitutional post, is "privileged and confidential.