RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh High Court has asked the state Advocate General (AG) to produce before it the copy of the order issued by him on “suspension and appointment” of lawyers in the government panel, which has
been challenged for being "beyond his jurisdiction".
In response to the petition filed by an advocate Tripti Rao, who was earlier among the empanelled lawyers, questioning the action of AG Kanak Tiwari, a bench of Justice Gautam Bhaduri has sought the copy of the order through which the instruction of suspending the eight lawyers was recalled later.
The AG is said to have carried out the “suspension and appointment” while reconstituting the panel of lawyers of the state government.
This is the first time after the formation of the new Congress government in Chhattisgarh that the AG evoked controversy over his action which has been claimed to be not within his authority. He replaced the eight suspended lawyers with new advocates in the panel though he later claimed to have withdrawn the suspension order.
The decision of the AG has not gone down well among the members of the profession who felt they were “arbitrarily” removed even without being served any notice. Tiwari was appointed as the state AG by the Bhupesh Baghel government.
There is also an allegation that the order on suspension of the eight empanelled lawyers, which was taken on March 11, was shown to be done on February 28, owing to the election model code of conduct
since the new advocates are to be taken in the government panel. According to the AG, these eight lawyers were not earnestly carrying out their roles with dedication with respect to cases related to the state.
“What I did was well within my jurisdiction as they were merely empanelled lawyers and not the law officers. I will respond to the court on the issue”, the AG, who later recalled the order of removing
the empanelled lawyers, said.
“The order of the AG itself is unauthorised. He has no power to appoint or suspend any advocate in the government panel. It’s the prerogative of the state government since the empanelled lawyers are meant to pursue or defend litigation on behalf of the state. It came as a rude shock to many when he got the decision published in the media as if those removed were blameworthy, which actually is not the case. His motive and decision are contentious as he acted beyond his jurisdiction”, the petitioner Rao told the Express.