Delhi LG stalled appointment of govt counsels, claims AAP

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday said that Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi, Vinai Kumar Saxena, has “stalled the process” of appointing public prosecutors and standing counsel for the Delhi government, which the party claimed were approved by former LG Anil Baijal.

At a press conference, AAP leader Atishi said that the Delhi government finalised the candidates after following the due process and after obtaining the approval of the then LG Baijal, around a year ago. She said that when the government informed Saxena before notifying of the appointments, the LG asked the government to send the biodata of all the selected candidates.

“When a crime takes place in Delhi, these lawyers argue the cases on behalf of the government and the victim in court. Now, the lawyers who are aware that they are going to be replaced have stopped working. The cases before the district courts and the high court, which also include heinous crimes such as rape, murder, and kidnapping, are being unnecessarily delayed because the LG has stalled the recruitment process. This is unconstitutional,” Atishi said.

Meanwhile, the LG office termed AAP’s charges “frivolous and bereft of facts and deliberately misleading.”

“With matters as clear and precise as this, it is expected that those making statements to the contrary refrain from such mischievously misleading and factually incorrect assertions in the future,” an official in the LG office said.

Atishi said the recruitment process began last when the then LG Baijal approved the selection committee on June 24, 2021.

The committee is comprised of the law minister, principal secretary (law), additional secretary (law) and additional secretary (home), the AAP leader said.

“The recruitment process started after LG’s approval and over 2,000 applications were received. The committee interviewed all the applicants and prepared a final list. In compliance with Section 24(8) CrPC, the committee sent the list to the Delhi High Court. The full court [40 HC judges] scrutinised the list and approved 40 of the 44 names sent by the panel,” she said.

She added that the Delhi government sent the final list of selected candidates to inform the LG before releasing the notification. “Now the LG has opened a new pandora’s box and asked us to send the bio-data of all the candidates. He wants to scrutinise them again,” Atishi said.

The LG office, however, said that the high court cleared 40 candidates out of a total of 44, subject to certain conditions that included taking undertakings from the concerned advocates regarding briefs that they could accept. “Thereafter, a proposal incorporating the 40 names and observations of the HC was put up to the LG (Saxena) on June 10, 2022, without including the bio-data of the recommended candidates, which is an obvious pre-requisite for due diligence,” the official in the LG office said.

“Accordingly, the file was returned to the law department with the direction from LG to place on record the bio-data of all the recommended candidates for empanelment,” said the official.

The disagreement is the latest in a series of issues that have led to a tussle between the elected government and the LG. The AAP has described LG’s meetings with government officials and his inspection of government facilities as a direct intervention in the elected government’s domain. It has also locked horns with the LG over the latter’s approving an ACB inquiry into alleged irregularities in the construction of seven temporary hospitals.

(With agency input)

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