Stop embarrassing us: State govt. tells its counsels

Apparently fed up with being subjected to repeated embarrassments during court proceedings, the State government has asked hundreds of counsels representing it to not take stands without consulting the government first. It has asked State counsels to communicate legal matters and updates on proceedings clearly to the departments concerned.

In instructions issued to State counsels, the State Law and Judiciary department said, “They should not admit or make any statements before the court/tribunal while arguing cases which could land the government in an embarrassing position, without obtaining written instructions from the administrative department or the government officer concerned.”

Recently, the State government was pulled up for its laid-back approach to several key issues being deliberated by the judiciary, including the petition on removal of illegal shrines and installation of sound meters to control noise pollution. Officials said these, and several other high profile cases, have been dragging on for years in the absence of proper communication between pleaders and departments.

A State Urban Development Department (UDD) official said, “Sometimes, we don’t even know what the courts expect of us. In some cases, the pleaders have failed to convey the gravity of the situation.” The UDD has been tasked to implement the order on illegal shrines.

The new instructions refers to Rule 94 of the Rules for the Conduct of Legal Affairs of Government, 1984, which states that pleaders must be guided by instructions that may be issued to them by the Remembrancer of Legal Affairs, the Joint Secretary, Law and Judiciary Department and department heads.

The note to counsels said: “So they are directed not to give any consent or make any statement on their own accord. If as per the record of the case, they feel that any statement is required to be made before the court while arguing the case, they should obtain the written instructions from the concerned administrative department, or the competent government officer concerned. These instructions shall be followed scrupulously.”

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