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List of 201 government counsel deserves to be quashed, review by Aug 11:Allahabad high court

The list of 201 government counsel released by the state government on July 7 is in the thick of a controversy as it carries the names of even non-practising lawyers.

lucknow Updated: Jul 22, 2017 15:54 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Allahabad high court,LUcknow bench,Government counsel
The list released by the UP government on July 7 is in the thick of a controversy as it carries the names of even non-practising lawyers.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Friday found gross anomalies in the list of 201 government advocates released by the state government. The court directed the government to review the list by August 11.

Passing this order, justice AP Sahi and justice SK Singh observed: “The list deserved to be quashed instantly but we are refraining from doing so as it will hamper the working of the court.”

Expressing concern over the list, the court said: “There is nothing on record to indicate, nor is it in the noting of the file, that any screening of candidates to assess their candidature was carried out.”

Hearing a PIL filed by Mahendra Singh Pawar challenging the list on Thursday, the court had ordered to place the list before it on Friday. The court observed that the list neither had signatures of law minister Brajesh Pathak nor advocate general Raghvendra Singh.

The list of 201 government counsel released by the UP government on July 7 is in the thick of a controversy as it carries the names of even non-practising lawyers.

The court also asked advocate general Raghvendra Singh to advise the state government on the issue.

“We expect that the learned advocate general will advise the state government to act accordingly more so when the state has to engage such lawyers who may be capable of defending the action of the state,” observed the court.

“Their legal acumen, their understanding of law, their manner of presentation, their manner of drafting and pleading are some of the most relevant factors that should be seen while screening candidates which should be done appropriately,” the court added.

“It is not the mere suggestion of names or any recommendation of those in a position of influence which should be the factor to engage a state lawyer. Transparency should also be observed to the extent of avoiding any criticism of nepotism or extending favours to judicial functionaries,” the court observed.

The court also advised the advocate general to examine the matter and review it in the light of what had been observed during proceedings of the case.

On his part, advocate general Raghvendra Singh assured the court to review the list of government counsel.

Singh also assured the court that, if necessary, the entire process of empanelment, including the list, will be appropriately revisited in order to keep it in conformity with law.

The list kicked off a political storm in the state capital as it carried the names of even Samajwadi Party loyalists while long-time sympathisers of the BJP did not figure on it.

The court fixed August 11 as next date of hearing.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 15:54 IST