After public prosecutors, Government to terminate standing counsels

After sacking public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors, the Governor’s administration has decided to terminate engagement of all the standing counsels representing the state in subordinate courts.

An official told Greater Kashmir that State Administrative Council (SAC) has given its go-ahead for disengaging all standing counsels hired by the government.

“Presently, the number of standing counsels, who are entitled to honorarium and other charges, is around 300-350.  The previous government had engaged 500-600 lawyers as government counsels in different courts,” the official said, adding that these appointments were made on recommendations of ministers, legislators and other political functionaries.

The action comes after government disengaged all 44 public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors, who were representing state government in criminal cases in session courts.

The official said government has also decided to streamline the process of engagement of standing counsels. “There is no limit on appointment of standing counsels.   Now we have decided to restrict their number to 120,” he said.

A junior officer, wishing not to be named, said some ministers in the previous government had turned  the Law department into recruitment agency by engaging hundreds of lawyers as standing counsels.

“ We don’t have any idea about their identity and qualification. We were compelled to issue orders,”he said.

 Immediately after the PDP-BJP government’s alliance for power-sharing in the state came to an end, Advocate General and other top law officers were asked to put in their papers. Apart from them, 27 political appointees engaged in various boards and corporations by the previous PDP-BJP government had also resigned.