High Fees Orissa lawyer files a PIL against Government paying 25 lakh per day to Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi
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High Fees Orissa lawyer files a PIL against Government paying 25 lakh per day to Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi

Bar & Bench

The Orissa Government is in trouble before the High Court for paying Rs. 25 lakh per day ($55,000) to Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi to defend a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against illegal mining in the State.

The Orissa Government is in trouble before the High Court for paying Rs. 25 lakh per day ($55,000) to Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi to defend a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against illegal mining in the State.

Gyan Ranjan Mohanty, General Secretary of All Orissa Lawyers Association has filed a PIL claiming that a “huge financial loss to the public exchequer” has been committed by the State Government for engaging Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi at Rs. 25 lakh per day when the Advocate General of the State and other empanelled lawyers could have easily handled this case.

Orissa High Court had taken up seven PILs on the mining scam where State Government was a party. Those PILs questioned several irregularities by some officials of the State Government. The High Court after hearing the petitions had ordered a CBI enquiry into the scam.

In the meanwhile, the State to defend its position has engaged Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi. The Senior Advocate is supposed to have charged the State Government Rs. 25 lakh for a day’s appearance before the High Court apart from the flight and assistant charges.

Gyan Ranjan Mohanty spoke to Bar & Bench and said, “What is the need to engage a lawyer by paying 25 lakh per day in a routine litigation? Why is State defending mining scammers at its cost? According to the reports available another Rs. 10 lakh have already been paid for the next hearing. Orissa is a poor state where people lack basic facilities like food and shelter. Government instead of focusing on spending on these issues has paid this exorbitant sum to an outside lawyer”.

Mohanty also added “this PIL has been filed so that the High Court sets some standards as to when an outside Senior Counsel can be engaged”.  He further said, “Advocate General post is a constitutional post and bypassing him would mean that the State Government has lost its faith in the Advocate General who has to advice the Government in its legal affairs”.

The PIL is scheduled to come up for hearing either today or tomorrow before the Chief Justice of Orissa.

The December edition of India Today listed out Senior Counsels and their average fee per appearance and per day. Mukul Rohtagi was estimated at Rs. 2.5 Lakh  ($5,500) to Rs. 3 Lakh ($6,600) per hearing. For a full day, it was estimated at Rs. 25 lakh ($55,000).

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