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“Favouritism and nepotism rules the order of the day” Petition in Delhi HC against appointment of Sr Standing Counsel

Nalini Sharma

The Delhi High Court today refused to intervene in a petition challenging the appointment of NCT’s standing counsel Rahul Mehra as the “Senior Standing Counsel” for the state government.

The petition filed by Advocate Chetan Dutt challenges the notification issued by Deputy Secretary, Department of Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs, which introduced the post of ‘Senior Standing Counsel’.

By virtue of the impugned notification, Rahul Mehra was appointed as the Senior Standing Counsel for all matters for NCT of Delhi and the Union of India. The petitioner claims that for such an appointment, there was no advertisement published, no terms and conditions formulated, no criteria laid down and no eligibility made.

The petitioner alleges that the creation of the post was not in accordance with any procedure established by law since no sanction was obtained from the Lt. Governor before such an appointment.

The petitioner relied on the division bench judgment in Government of NCT Delhi v. Union of India WP(C) No. 5888 of 2015, through which the Court had entitled the Lt. Governor to make appointments in favour of the government of NCT of Delhi.

The bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, however, refused to interfere in the matter after he was informed that the file regarding the appointment was already pending with the Lt. Governor for consideration.

Apart from challenging the appointment, the petitioner also claims that there was no “equitable and rational distribution of cases” done by the Department of Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs and that “favouritism and nepotism rules the order of the day”. 

The petitioner goes on to allege that Rahul Mehra arbitrarily exercises the power of allocation of cases not on any criteria but at his whim and fancy. The petition states,

“The Respondent No.5 [Rahul Mehra] in a pick and choose manner started allocating cases to a few counsels in large numbers discriminating against the others Advocates on Panel, without any basis. There are large number of very experience counsels, who were not even allocated a single case from the: date of their appointment on Panel till date, and if scrutinized the official records are self-explanatory.”

The matter has now been posted for March 20 on the request of the petitioner, who is now awaiting the official decision of the Lt. Governor in the matter.

Image taken from here.

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