There will now be a search committee to recommend a panel of eligible persons

SC prevents states from offering law officer posts to party loyalists
news Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 10:14

A game-changing verdict by the Supreme Court will now make it difficult for the new government in Tamil Nadu to offer plum law officer posts to advocates merely because they had been party workers or functionaries and wore their loyalties on their sleeves.

According to the Times of India, usually, a new government brings in its own set of law officers and prosecutors and the sole criterion for appointment is their political leanings, barring a few honourable exceptions. The new government may not be able to take that route because on March 30, the first bench of the Supreme Court held that such appointments are amenable to judicial scrutiny. There shall be a search committee to identify and recommend a panel of the most eligible persons for the posts and they should be vetted by the chief justice of the high court in consultation with other judges. Arbitrary appointments or those made due to extraneous considerations can be quashed.

Tamil Nadu does not have a set selection procedure or norms to engage lawyers on contract for the state. A PIL in the Madras high court has sought a direction to the government to follow the Supreme Court order and appoint only efficient lawyers, and not party cadres masquerading as lawyers. The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh had issued notice to the state government and adjourned it to July 14 for further hearing.

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