Punjab advocate general (AG) Ashok Aggarwal has resigned as the state’s top law officer. Aggarwal took over as AG in 2011. Besides Aggarwal, as many as 16 more law officers have also submitted their resignations.
“I resigned on March 11, but I am yet to get confirmation of acceptance of my papers,” Aggarwal told Hindustan Times. The state’s law officers’ strength as of March 11 was 193 --- 28 in Delhi and 165 at the Punjab and Haryana high court. The state had 16 additional advocates general, four deputy advocates general and eight other law officers in Delhi. In Chandigarh, the state had 68 additional advocates general, 3 senior deputy advocates general and 40 deputy advocates general and 54 assistant advocates general.
Rules not in place, law officers’ appointment may take some time
Last month, the Punjab government had extended the tenure of all its law officers’ up to March 31, 2017. Sources said the appointment of law officers, other than the AG, may take some time as state is yet to put in place the rules as directed by the Supreme Court in March 2016. As per the SC order, the state will have fix eligibility criterion, besides, constituting a search committee. After nod from search committee, the names are to be sent to the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, who, in turn, would get it examined by a committee of the high court judges. The appointments can be made after taking into account observations on suitability of candidates by the chief justice.
Five names doing the rounds
With Captain Amarinder Singh set to take over as the chief minister on Thursday, sources said new AG may also be announced by March 17 for which the names of at least five advocates are doing rounds.
They are: Supreme Court lawyer and senior advocate Atul Nanda who is considered close to Captain and has dealt with alleged corruption cases against Singh, senior advocate APS Deol, who was appointed as special prosecutor in DA cases against Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal in 2002 by Amarinder Singh, senior advocate ML Saggar, former assistant solicitor general during UPA’s tenure at HC Anmol Rattan Sidhu, who was Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar president for six years, and leading service lawyer at the HC DS Patwalia. Patwalia is son of former SC judge justice Kuldip Singh. His elder brother PS Patwalia is the additional solicitor general of India.