The House on Wednesday passed a bill by voice vote to engage law officers in the office of the advocate general (AG) in a “transparent, fair and objective manner”. The Punjab Law Officers (Engagement) Bill, 2017, was moved by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh in the House.
As per the bill, the law officers to be engaged in the office of AG are senior additional advocate general, additional advocate general, senior deputy advocate general, deputy advocate general, assistant advocate general and advocates on record.
The law officers will give advice to the state government on legal matters, appear and defend the government and its officers or any other statutory authority before the high court, Supreme Court, any other court, and tribunal.
No law officer will appear in a case which is against the interest of the state government, the bill says.The government or the AG with the approval of the government, shall have the right to engage any advocate, not having been engaged as law officer, to institute, prosecute or defend any particular case or class of cases on behalf of the state government and its officers and its instrumentalities.
The engagements of law officers will be done by a scrutiny committee and the selection committee. The selection committee comprises AG as chairman, legal remembrancer as member secretary and three members to be appointed by the government. The AG, with the approval of government, can engage up to seven advocates, the bill says. The bill was passed without any discussion.