SC directs appointment of law officers in transparent, fair manner


Srinagar: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all states to make selection and appointment of law officers more transparent, fair and objective.   

Disposing of an appeal, a division bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph also ordered the states to constitute selection panel for appointment of law officers in the state. 

The Secretary, Department of Law in each State shall be the Member-Secretary of the Selection Committee, the apex court said.

The court was hearing the appeal against Punjab and Haryana and the question raised in the plea was as to whether appointment of law officers by the State Governments can be questioned or the process by which such appointments are made, can be assailed on the ground that the same are arbitrary. 

“The Committee shall on the basis of norms and criteria which the Government concerned may formulate and in the absence of any such norms, on the basis of norms and criteria which the Committee may themselves formulate conduct selection of law officers for the State and submit a panel of names to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana who may set up a Committee of Judges to review the panel and make recommendations to the Chief Justice,” the court according to news agency GNS said.

The Chief Justice may, based on any such recommendations, record his views regarding suitability of the candidates included in the panel, the apex court said.

“The Government shall then be free to appoint the candidates having regard to the views expressed by the Chief Justice regarding their merit and suitability. The procedure for assessment of merit of the candidates and consideration by the High Court will apply in all cases where the candidates are already working as State counsel but are being given an extension in the term of their appointment,” the court said.

The apex court also clarified that although it was primarily concerned with the procedure regarding selection and appointment of law officers in the States of Punjab and Haryana, “we have confined our directions to the said two States only yet other States would do well to reform their system of selection and appointment to make the same more transparent, fair and objective if necessary by amending the relevant LR Manuals/Rules and Regulations on the subject.”  (GNS)



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