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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Search begins for new Adv General, AAGs, DAGs

Jehangir Iqbal, 40 other government advocates tender resignation

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Feb 12: Search has begun for appointment of the new Advocate General and replacement of 40-odd other government advocates who submitted their resignations on Friday to the Government through Commissioner-Secretary of the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

On Thursday, Government had sought resignation from Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai and other members of his team in the top rungs. By telephone, it had been communicated to them that Governor’s administration wanted them to furnish resignation letters by Friday.

In his official vehicle, Advocate General, with routine Police escort drove to his office at Jammu and Kashmir High Court complex in Janipura where he submitted his resignation to the Government. He also abandoned his vehicle and escort and returned in the private car of one of his colleagues. Official sources said that in all 42 government advocates including Advocate General, appointed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Government, tendered their resignation.

Commissioner-Secretary Law Mohammad Ashraf Mir and his colleagues in Law Department called them with the request that they should continue to pursue the Government business in different courts till acceptance or rejection of their resignation. According to well-placed sources, less than a dozen incumbents appeared on behalf of the Government in some courts while as others either left for home or pursued private cases.

Jammu wing of the High Court suspended work for second half of the day on Thursday and for the full day Friday as a mark of respect to the senior civil and criminal lawyer advocate Janak Raj Arora who had passed away yesterday.

Even as the Advocate General and all the senior Additional Advocates General (Sr AAGs), AAGs, Deputy AGs and Government Advocates (GAS) deployed in High Court tendered their resignations, the Governor’s administration did not seek disengagement of over 400 advocates who are working as Standing Counsels (SCs) Public Prosecutors (PPs) and Additional Public Prosecutors in different courts, including special and designated courts, of the subordinate judiciary.

Officials and bureaucrats did not elaborate on why the resignation had been sought from Advocate General and 40-odd other advocates. However, well-placed sources revealed to STATE TIMES that the bureaucracy was indignant after Mr Ganai said before a Division Bench earlier this week that around a dozen administrative Secretaries were not cooperating and coordinating with him with regard to the direction of completing around 150 departmental inquiries against different officials and bureaucrats. The DB had taken strong note and impleaded as many as 13 administrative secretaries as a respondent party in the PIL and issued notices to them.

Adverse directions and judgments in some other cases had already turned an influential section of the bureaucracy against Advocate General and his team.

Governor Narendra Nath Vohra, who was scheduled to return to Jammu from New Delhi on Friday, extended his visit by two days. He is now expected to return to the winter capital on Sunday. Sources said that the Governor and his advisors, besides Chief Secretary and Commissioner-Secretary Law, would finalise the new list of the appointees in the next two days. Orders of appointment in favour of the new Advocate General and other senior members of his team could be issued on Sunday night or Monday.

According to sources, senior advocate and former Advocate General D.C. Raina, senior advocate and former representative of the State government in Supreme Court of India, Gaurav Pachnanda, who happens to be a close relative of the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the outgoing Senior AAG Seema Shekhar, are in the top zone of consideration for appointment of the new Advocate General.


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