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Haryana

State sets tough criteria for law officers in AG office

December 06, 2019 05:47 AM

COURTESY TIMESOF INDIA DEC 6

State sets tough criteria for law officers in AG office
District Court Lawyers Cannot Apply
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The new criteria announced by the Haryana government for the much-awaited engagement of law officers in the state’s advocate general (AG) office has come as rude shock for many lawyers of the state seeking berth in the state’s top law office.


The main resentment among the lawyers is about the criteria of income and the mandatory experience of legal practice before the high court (HC) or Supreme Court (SC) to become eligible for appointment in the AG office.

The new criteria insists that only those practising before the HC or SC will be eligible — those practicing before district court will be excluded for the post.

The minimum income requirement — for instance, for additional AG post, only an advocate having professional income of Rs 12 lakh is eligible.

Likewise, Rs 8 lakh for deputy AG and Rs 5 lakh for assistant AG are stipulated as new criteria.

Similarly, the experience of practice as an advocate has also been fixed at 12, 8 and 5 years and should have conducted at least 55, 35 and 25 cases to become eligible for appointment on the post of additional, deputy and assistant AG respectively.

The new criteria was the main talking point in the high court bar on Thursday. While some term it “too harsh and strict”, others were of the view that the new rules would ensure only those seriously into legal practice at the HC or SC would be on the board.

Although the condition of practice before the HC or SC was acceptable to most of the members of the bar, there was, however, some strong resentment on the income criteria.

“The criteria of Rs 12 lakh income for additional AG and Rs 8 lakh for deputy AG is unreasonable because there is no uniformity in fee charged by lawyers in the high court. Some advocates may be charging higher fee than others for similar cases. Some of them may be conducting some cases free of cost or providing free legal-aid. Thus, the criteria of number of cases is reasonable but the criteria of income is highly unreasonable,” said a group of lawyers in the HC bar.

The representatives of some of the district bars of Haryana have also expressed unhappiness over the criteria as it would completely exclude them from being considered for these posts.

However, Haryana AG Baldev Raj Mahajan told TOI that the new criteria will ensure that only those serious in the legal profession will be part of state’s top law office.

“State will be paying at least around Rs 15 lakh annually to a law officer engaged as assistant AG. So, what is harm if we expect that a person willing to be appointed on such post should have been earning at least Rs 5 lakh in a year. Similarly, there is huge difference in the nature of work in district court and high court and that is why we want only those lawyers who have conducted cases before the high court or Supreme Court,” Mahajan added.

The AG also said he has clear instructions from the chief minister that the candidates should not be those having any affiliation with the ruling party. The appointments in the AG office will be made entirely on the basis of the specially crafted criteria

 
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