Noting that Maharashtra government has failed to appoint an Advocate General, the Bombay High Court today set a deadline of December 23 for the state to inform when it would fill up the coveted post.
“Tell us on December 23 when would you appoint the Advocate General,” a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka said, while hearing a petition filed by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt.
Government pleader today informed it that the state would appoint the AG very soon.
However, the high court said it wanted to know when such appointment would be made. The bench further said it was not satisfied with the government’s reply on appointment of AG.
Neeraj Dhote, legal adviser and joint secretary, law and judiciary department, filed an affidavit on December 8 assuring the court that “the state would appoint AG in accordance with the provisions contained in Article 165 of the Constitution of India, by the end of December 2016.”
The bench had then remarked “it is high time that the government appointed a new Advocate General to represent the state. Many constitutional and statutory functions (of the government) are suffering due to the non-appointment of AG and it affects the cause of justice as well as the public.”
Dutt sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to appoint a regular Advocate General in place of the current acting Advocate General.
His petition said the court should declare that the post of ‘acting Advocate General’ was unconstitutional, and that the appointment of Advocate General should be made only as per the provisions of Article 165 of the Constitution.
Dutt clarified that he was not questioning the integrity and professional capability of acting Advocate General Rohit Deo, but said he wanted a direction to the government to follow the Constitutional provisions.
Deo was functioning as an acting AG for the last seven months, while under the Constitution no post of ‘acting AG’ exists, he said.
Dutt had also raised the issue in the state Legislature earlier, the petition said.