AAP govt questions L-G’s move to appoint separate counsels for services dept
Sisodia shot a letter to Baijal, urging him to put the recruitment process on hold -- signalling at yet another flashpoint between the L-G and the government.
The Delhi government on Monday questioned lieutenant governor Anil Baijal’s move to appoint a separate set of advocates for the services department and alleged that deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was denied access to the file related to the hiring.
Expressing his strong resentment, Sisodia shot a letter to Baijal, urging him to put the recruitment process on hold -- signalling at yet another flashpoint between the L-G and the government.
“I am shocked to see a copy of notice dated September 14 issued by services department inviting applications for the posts of standing counsels and additional standing counsels,” he said in the letter.
Sisodia explained in the letter that the Delhi government already had a set of standing counsels, additional standing counsels and a panel of advocates whose appointments were done by the L-G after an elaborate process of advertisements, interviews and selection.
“These advocates cater to the needs of all Delhi government departments. Then why does the services department need a separate set of advocates?” the minister questioned.
The decision to appoint lawyers exclusively for the services department is significant as it is among the three areas directly under the L-G’s control. The other two are police and land.
The L-G’s office denied Sisodia’s claims and said, “Services is a reserved subject and the services department is entitled to have its own panel.”
Sisodia in his letter said he was kept “completely in the dark” about this decision and requested Baijal to direct the officials to show him the particular file. “The officers refuse to show me the file, saying Hon’ble LG has directed them not to show this file to the minister (in-charge)/Chief Minister. I am surprised as to why you do that? Is there anything secret about this file?” Sisodia questioned in the letter.
Objections by law department
According to the Delhi government, the services department’s proposal was also “strongly opposed” by the law department and its minster.
The law minister had rejected the proposal, saying keeping another panel of counsels would have financial implications “which is totally un-warranted”. At present, the government is paying Rs 1.10 lakh per month to its standing counsels (civil) and Rs 90,000 to additional standing counsels.
Its secretary Raj Kumar Chauhan too had expressed his reservations saying, “The proposal of the services department has been examined in the light of Government of NCT of Delhi (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1993, according to which work of supervision of government litigation, appointment of legal advisor, counsel and law officers and engagement of government counsels has been allocated to this department.”
“Therefore, the services department may be informed to re-consider their proposal in the light of above factual and statutory position,” it read.