The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the lack of criteria for appointing state-level law officers, virtually questioning if most of them assumed the post merely because of their affiliation to the ruling party.
The apex court took note of the recent environment ministry decision to appoint 30 advocates without taking merit into consideration.
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During the day-long hearing, it questioned why the environment and forest ministry (MoEF) had appointed these advocates as panel lawyers in breach of a year-old memo issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to all the departments to make only merit-based appointments.
PMO had sent a communication to all the ministries and departments on September 5, 2014, to focus on merit while proposing candidates for a particular assignment.
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Advocate Pradeep Raparia, who alleged that political connections were the sole ground for appointment of law officers in Haryana, handed over a list of 30 panel lawyers, notified by the MoEF on September 1 to represent the ministry before the National Green Tribunal’s benches in Delhi, Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata and Chennai.
A bench, headed by Justice Thakur, asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar how could appointments be made first and resumes asked later. It expressed serious concern over the lack of proper procedures for appointment of government law officers. “Government law officers should be men of merit and not men with connections. This process requires transparency,” Justice Thakur said.