Former Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar, who lost his job for faking his college degree, was part of a panel for appointing government law officers even when his educational qualification was under scrutiny.
The opposition BJP and Congress now want the appointments quashed, saying the process was vitiated because the disgraced Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister headed the panel which selected the government’s standing counsels, criminal and civil, and 16 additional standing counsels.
“How can the appointments be fair when the process was vitiated right from the very beginning? This is cheating. As the complaint against Tomar was pending since February, he should have recused himself from the selection committee,” said Vijender Gupta, leader of opposition in the Delhi assembly.
Tomar’s law degree came under the lens when a man from Ghaziabad filed a complaint before the Bar Council of Delhi on January 28. And between April 20 and 30, a panel headed by Tomar conducted interviews for selection of lawyers as law officers to represent the AAP government in court cases.
“It is strange that someone who was not competent to even become a lawyer was part of the committee for selecting standing counsel. These appointments should be declared null and void,” said Gupta, a BJP leader.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken expressed similar views. “Now it is clear that Tomar's law degree is not genuine. Lawyers selected by him should not be approved by the authority. No person picked up by Tomar should be put on the government’s panel,” he said.
Tomar is currently behind bars after Delhi police arrested him on June 9 for the forging his law degree.
An AAP government spokesperson defended the appointments, saying all legal procedures were followed during the hiring process.
“For the first time an advertisement was issued and applications were invited for the posts. They were interviewed by a panel comprising the then law minister. There is nothing wrong in Tomar being a part of the panel,” he said.
“Tomar was not heading the panel. What have the fake degree controversy got to do with the panel selecting law officers? So far as his work as law minister is concerned, nothing wrong has been found. The selected candidates were cleared by a full court, comprising all judges of the Delhi high court.”
Another list of lawyers recommended for appointment as additional public prosecutors is awaiting approval of high court full bench.
Sources said no police verification was done, unlike in the past, before the notification was issued for appointing nine lawyers as standing counsel and additional standing counsel.