Supreme court comes down heavily on incompetent officials and lawyers fighting for the state
GN Bureau | September 11, 2015
Painting a grim picture of judicial process in the states, the supreme court has said that appointment of political favourites to the public posts of government pleaders and law officers in the states is further weakening the already-beleaguered justice delivery system in the lower courts across the country.
When told that even property dealers and political activists having law degrees were being appointed government pleaders, a bench of justices TS Thakur and Kurian Joseph said there should be some semblance of objectivity in the appointment of law officers as they defend the state and the public’s interest in courts.
Justice Thakur said the state governments had left the public function of public pleaders in the hands of incompetent persons with political contact but little merit.
“There should be some kind of objective assessment of the candidate’s merits before appointing him. Leaving the post of a law officer to a person with poor merit is a cause of heartburn for us,” Justice Thakur said on Thursday during a hearing of a case.
“A government pleader holds the office in public interest, his functions are of a public character and his remunerations are paid from the public exchequer. So should there not be some element of transparency in their appointments? Should there not be some objectivity,” Justice Thakur asked Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, who is appearing as amicus curiae.
Justice Thakur pointed out that in Punjab, at least Rs. 2 crore was spent on government pleaders.
“Are they pocketing the money and doing no work,” Justice Thakur remarked, suggesting that law officers should be subjected to periodic performance audits.
“Today, there is no such audit. Some of these pleaders may have never appeared in a court.”
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