In yet another example of the growing discord between the government and its senior law officers, a protest from the petroleum ministry against an additional solicitor general has led to his replacement in a high-profile battle in the Delhi high court.
Faced with serious charges against additional solicitor general (ASG) Amarjit Singh Chandiok, the law ministry has removed him from the case.
The move comes soon after the government accepted solicitor general Gopal Subramanium’s resignation in protest against the Centre’s decision to engage a private lawyer in a 2G case in the Supreme Court.
Chandiok’s case relates to a dispute between Essar Steel and the government over a cut in gas supplies from Reliance’s KG-D6 fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast, due to a fall in output.
“The stand taken by the ASG before the court is against the instructions of the ministry and against the affidavit filed by the ministry before the court,” the petroleum ministry stated in a July 4 letter to the law ministry.
With the petroleum ministry charging Chandiok with misrepresenting the government’s stand, the law ministry has replaced Chandiok with another ASG, Vivek Tankha.
Chandiok, however, told HT, “I have no information about any such letter. We are all brothers. It does not matter whether I appear or Tankha does.”
The petroleum ministry’s main allegation was that Chandiok did not argue the case on merits despite being briefed by petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy and senior ministry officers.