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Lawyers flay HC order recalling PAG’s audit

Advocates’ association of Jharkhand high court has submitted a petition, signed by as many as 50 practicing lawyers, to the state bar council deprecating the court’s order recalling PAG’s audit into accounts of state legal services authority, judicial academy and national law university in Ranchi

ranchi Updated: Jun 24, 2017 14:27 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Jharkhand high court,PAG Audit,Lawyers' protest
JHARKHAND HIGHT COURT IN RANCHI (HT Photo)

The Jharkhand high court’s order recalling its earlier order through which the principal accountant general (PAG) was asked to audit the accounts of three judicial institutions evoked a sharp criticism from practicing lawyers.

The high court on June 7 had directed the principal accountant general (PAG) of Jharkhand to audit the accounts of Jharkhand Legal Services Authority (JHALSA), Jharkhand Judicial Academy (JJA) and National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL), Ranchi, within four months and submit a report to the court.

A division bench of then Chief Justice PK Mohanty and Justice Amitav K Gupta had passed the order after a citizen had written a letter to the Jharkhand Chief Justice alleging about mismanagement and misutilisation of funds by these institutions.

Responding to review petitions filed by these institutions, another bench of Justice S Chandrashekhar and Justice Amitav K Gupta on June 20 had recalled the said order on the ground that the person who had written the letter to the Chief Justice didn’t disclose his name and address.

Reacting to this, the advocates’ association of the Jharkhand high court has submitted a petition, signed by as many as 50 practicing lawyers, to the state bar council seeking its intervention in the matter.

The lawyers questioned the manner in which the earlier order was recalled. They argued that how could an order passed by a bench headed by chief justice be reviewed by another bench comprising junior judges.

The association’s executive committee meeting was held on Wednesday in which it was decided that the members of the association would meet chairman of the state bar council, the apex lawyer’s body, to decide further course of action, said association’s president AK Kashyap.

Members of the executive committee deprecated the high court’s recall order calling it ‘bad’.

JHALSA and JJA are judicial institutions functioning under the administrative control of the Jharkhand high court. While the former is a statutory body constituted with a view to providing free legal service and to ensure opportunity to the downtrodden class of the society for securing justice, the latter is meant to provide legal training, research and other academic facilities to judicial officers and lawyers. Both the institutions receive fund from the state government.

NUSRL, Ranchi, recognised by the University Grants Commission, was set up in 2010 after the state granted Rs 50 crore one-time fund.

Earlier, the high court had taken suo moto cognizance of the letter written by a citizen and initiated a PIL. On June 7, the bench headed by then Chief Justice PK Mohanty had directed the Jharkhand PAG to audit the accounts of the three institutions. It had also directed the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to monitor the auditing that would be carried out by the PAG.

The bench had observed, “Having regard to the nature of allegations and for ensuring transparency in the administration and interest of justice, it is deemed proper that the accounts be audited by the PAG of state of Jharkhand.”

First Published: Jun 24, 2017 14:27 IST