The Madhya Pradesh government’s move to bring in a law to check allegedly troublesome litigation against government functionaries has evoked sharp reactions from legal experts who termed it “patently unconstitutional.”
The Shivraj Chouhan government, which has been under attack from the opposition Congress party on a recruitment exam scam, plans to introduce the ‘MP Tang Karne Wala Muqadmebazi Nivaran Vidheyak’ in the assembly.
The bill approved by the state cabinet on Tuesday seeks to check vexatious litigation against government functionaries.
Under the proposed law, loosely translated as the ‘Prevention of Irritating Litigation Bill’, the advocate general can object to such litigation if he feels it is intended to harass the government or its functionaries. If he convinces the court, the petition will be dismissed immediately.
“This law cannot be sustained,” retired Delhi HC Judge Usha Mehra told HT.
“It’s against well established principles of law, common sense, and natural justice,” she added.
“Bill or no Bill, the AG has the power by law to oppose and demolish the opposition’s case, and the court has the power to dismiss it if it deems the same vaxatious,” retired SC judge Gyan Sudha Misra told HT. “At best it could called a precautionary measure.”
However, other legal experts are not convinced.
“They cannot put the government on a higher pedestal and hide their sins behind such a law,” senior advocate KTS Tulsi said.
The law was “patently unconstitutional and against the principle of equality enshrined in the Indian constitution”, he added.
SC Bar Association President and senior counsel Dushyant Dave said, “It’s against constitutional morality. No court would be able to sustain this kind of a law.”
Mehra also attacked the power to object given to the AG. “The AG is an appointee of the government, and must defend the government. Naturally he’ll be biased.”
The law purports to usurp what is traditionally the court’s domain, legal experts said.
“Ultimately if an offence has taken place, every court has the right to investigate this. The government, in that sense, is striking at the separation of power theory. It’s a fraud on the constitution,” Dave said.
SC lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan said it was a “legal absurdity”. “This is not only completely against all legal systems but also amounts to interference with the course of justice. There’s a limit to which you can take absurdity.”