Delhi HC notice to LG in plea to notify appointment of Government Pleaders

Aditi Singh April 8 2019
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking a direction to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi to notify the appointment of government pleaders who were "meritoriously selected" by the Delhi Government.

Notice to the LG as well as the Delhi Govt was issued by a single judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

Filed through Petitioner in person, advocate Bharat S Kumar, the petition claims that the "grave delay" in the appointment of advocates to conduct cases on behalf of the Delhi Government in Delhi district courts has 'impacted justice delivery system and the legitimate system of appointment of the Delhi government'.

Pursuant to a Delhi Govt Notification inviting application for empanelment, the Petitioner along with 68 others was declared as a successful candidate on December 26, 2018.

However, till date, there has been no confirmation or notification pertaining to the appointment of the successful candidates by the LG.

When the Petitioner personally visited the Delhi Secretariat for obtaining clarity on the status of empanelled advocates, he was informed that the file on approval was still pending with the LG office. Thus, the Delhi Government could not transfer cases to the Petitioner, the Petition states.

The Petitioner also sent representations to the LG as well the Delhi Govt on the issue but did not receive any definitive response.

The Petitioner submits that the power of the Delhi Government to appoint Government pleaders emanates from Entry 13 List III of the Constitution. Consequently, the exercise of functions relating to the subject by the LG under Article 239 AA(4) ought to be in aid and advice of the council of ministers with the Chief Minister at its head.

"... the Delhi Government has absolute power to nominate and appoint counsels to conduct cases in its behalf in the District Courts in Delhi. Resultantly, any such selection of government pleaders, exercised on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, ought to be accepted by the Hon'ble Lt. Governor and such selection must be notified as expeditiously as possible."

Failure to fulfill this obligation results in grave arbitrariness, it is claimed.

The matter will be heard next on May 14.

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