The recent change of guard at Chandigarh administration's senior standing counsel has now been followed by removal of as many as 79 advocates from the administration's panel including the kin of sitting high court judge, advocate generals of Punjab, Haryana and even a cousin of union law minister Kapil Sibal.
On March 3, senior advocate Major Sanjeev Sharma (retd) had taken over the reins of senior standing counsel after the resignation of advocate Sanjay Kaushal.
Now, around 30 counsels are left on UT administration's panel. Some of Kaushal's associate advocates have been shown the door, while some of Sharma's associates have been empanelled. The communiqué shot-off to all heads of departments (HoDs) by Chandigarh law secretary reads: "In pursuance to the decision taken by the Chandigarh administration, the following advocates are no more on the panel of the Chandigarh administration with immediate effect."
The advocates removed from panel also include Amanjeet S Sullar (justice MS Sullar's son), Amit Aggarwal (Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal's son), Gaurav Singh Hooda (Haryana advocate general Hawa Singh Hooda's son), Pavit Singh Mattewal (former Punjab advocate general Hardev Singh Mattewal's son) and senior advocate Deepak Sibal (union minister Kapil Sibal's cousin recently recommended by high court collegium for judgeship).
The communication dated March 6 further requested HoDs to depute a nodal officer 'to collect the brief of the cases relating to your department from the aforesaid counsels within two days'.
It was further ordered that a request be made to legal remembrancer-cum-director of prosecution immediately so that formal instructions in favour of some other counsel may be issued. Those tripped include advocates for the Supreme Court (2), additional government pleaders (37), junior counsels on civil side (28), standing counsel for central administrative tribunal (5) and additional public prosecutors (7). The senior standing counsel was not available for comments.