The Madras High Court today directed the state government to file its response on a petition seeking steps to appoint qualified law officers in various courts in a transparent and objective manner.
The petitioner, Vasanthakumar, who is an advocate, also sought quashing of the Government Order with regard to "appointment of law officers of High Court of Madras and its Bench at Madurai (Appointment) Rules 2017" and the consequent Government Gazette dated April 29.
He contended that these were illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory and in defiance of the long line of judgements of the Supreme Court.
A vacation bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and M Govindaraj directed the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu government to file a counter within four weeks.
Earlier, the petitioner, while challenging the appointment of law officers, sought a direction to the government to appoint persons knowing law for the posts in different courts in Tamil Nadu.
The earlier first bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul (since elevated to the Supreme Court) had appointed an amicus (an adviser to the court) in the matter of drafting rules for appointment of law officers for various courts in Tamil Nadu to represent the government.
However, the bench comprising the then Acting Chief Justice, who was heading the first bench after the elevation of Justice Kaul, disposed of the batch of petitions including the one filed by petitioner Vasanthakumar, saying that appointment of law officers is purely under the domain of the government.
Subsequently, the government on April 29 passed a GO framing the rules for appointment of law officers in courts, which has now been challenged by Vasanthakumar.
In his petition, the advocate said the state government had not taken into consideration the observation made by the Supreme Court and high court to ensure transparency in the appointment of law officers.
The state should have devised a mechanism for selecting law officers rather than leaving it to the wisdom of the learned Advocate-General and the same is deprecated by the Supreme Court in "State of Punjab & another Vs Brijeshwar Singh Chahal & another" case, the petitioner said.
The petitioner urged the court to quash the above GO framing rules and direct the state government to take steps to appoint qualified law officers in a transparent and objective manner to save the justice delivery system.