LUCKNOW: In an important decision which is bound to save crores for the public exchequer, the state government has restrained its different departments and agencies from engaging private lawyers, also referred to as special counsels, to contest their cases in the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench.
The state has said that the government lawyers already appointed in the high court are competent enough to handle the cases and the engagement of private lawyers not only draws heavy financial burden on the government’s exchequer but it also lowers the image of existing state lawyers in the high court.
The state has said that “henceforth only in unavoidable circumstances, the special counsel would be engaged by the departments and other agencies and that, too, with prior opinion of the advocate general”. The government was apprised that in recent times, the engagement of special counsels was alarming, especially in the Lucknow bench.
Special secretary of the state government’s justice department, Indrajeet Singh, issued a government order in this regard on Friday. The GO has been issued following a letter of UP advocate general Ajay Kumar Misra to the state government written on December 13.
In his letter to the government, the AG had said that the instances of engaging special counsels in the high court, especially in the Lucknow bench, have gone high of late, and it is noticed that “private counsels are being engaged even in simple cases which can be argued by the already appointed state law officers in the high court as they are competent enough to handle such cases”.
“This kind of unnecessary engagement of special counsels draws heavy burden on the public exchequer as the fees of the private counsel is paid around Rs 5 lakh per hearing, which means if the case got listed three times in a month, the state government would have to cough up Rs 15 lakh in a month,” the advocate general said in the letter.





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