Supreme Court summons HP Chief Secretary for absence of lawyer in criminal matters

The Hush Post: Due to change in policies of successive governments, the bureaucracy  sometimes comes in the direct line of fire. In somewhat similar circumstances, the Supreme Court has summoned the Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary to appear before it on February 15 to explain why no lawyers have been engaged to appear in the Supreme Court in criminal matters on behalf of the state of Himachal Pradesh. A Bench of Justice NV Ramana and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, was hearing a matter related to a remission scheme for early release of convicts, who have suffered more than 15 years of incarceration in jail.  The criminal appeal had been pending since 2011. The top court said it was “unfortunate” that there was no representation on behalf of the state of Himachal Pradesh and the lawyer present had no instruction to appear in the matter.

“In view of the fact that no standing counsel for the state of Himachal Pradesh is present even today also, we have no option, but to direct the Chief Secretary of the state of Himachal Pradesh to appear before this court on the next date of hearing and explain the reasons for not engaging any counsel in these matters,” the Bench said.

The top court posted the matter for further hearing on February 15 when the Chief Secretary of the state will have to appear in the apex court.

All the confusion stems from the fact that the newly elected BJP government in the state had issued a notification on January 17 abolishing the posts of Additional Advocate General and support staff for the state Legal Cell in Delhi created by the Virbhadra Singh government . Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had ordered bringing the Legal Cell, New Delhi, under the control of the Prosecution Department instead.  The new government wants the revival of the post of District Attorney and support staff at Delhi. Due to the new notification, the two Additional Advocate Generals appointed by the Virbhadra government working in the legal cell of the state in Delhi have stopped appearing in the apex court.



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