Lawyers’ panels cancelled by L-G reinstated: Kejriwal

The hiring of lawyers that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal had cancelled in May has been reinstated in the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment on the powers of the elected government and the L-G last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

The Aam Aadmi Party government’s decisions in November 2017 and in January this year to hire panels of lawyers to represent it in High Court and to give legal advice respectively had been cancelled by the L-G in May.

Without consent

The L-G’s Secretariat had informed the Chief Secretary that the two orders to empanel lawyers had been done without his consent, in violation of the Transaction of Business Rules.

With the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench ruling on July 4 that the L-G’s concurrence was not required for proposals other than the reserved subjects of land, police and public order, the AAP government on Thursday said the L-G’s order of May 16 did not stand.

“LG had cancelled Del govt’s panels of advocates in HC and SC due to which Del govt’s cases in these courts were suffering. Today, Del govt restored both panels [sic],” the Chief Minister said in a tweet.

In a communication to the Cabinet, the Chief Secretary and Raj Niwas, Law Minister Kailash Gahlot on Thursday said the orders to hire the lawyers were in force.

Raj Niwas did not respond to requests for comment.

Along with cancellation of the empanelment after the L-G’s order, the Finance Department was asked to stop paying the lawyers. Among the senior advocates who had been hired to represent the government in the High Court were Indira Jaising, Colin Gonsalves, Rebecca John and Sanjay R. Hegde.

The announcement of the reinstatement comes at a time the AAP government and the L-G remain at odds over who controls services. Though Raj Niwas has agreed that files on transferred subjects do not need the L-G’s concurrence, the question of who approves appointments and transfers of officers remains.

Raj Niwas has maintained that the matter is still pending, as the May 21, 2015 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs making the L-G the approving authority for transfers remains in force.

Mr. Kejriwal has said that since the Supreme Court has said there are three reserved subjects, services are under the elected government and not the L-G.

The AAP government has mentioned the issue in the apex court and a Division Bench is expected to hear the matter.

LG had cancelled Del govt’s panels of advocates in HC and SC due to which Del govt’s cases in these courts were suffering. Today, Del govt restored both panels [sic]

Arvind Kejriwal

Chief Minister

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