The Tamil Nadu government recently notified the appointment of Senior Advocate AL Somayaji as "Special Senior Counsel".
This is a newly sanctioned temporary post, carrying responsibilities described as being "to deal with the cases allotted by the Government”, as per a July 31 Government Order.
On July 29, 2020, the government initially appointed Special Senior Counsel as being to "deal with the cases of special importance and complicated nature."
The July 29 order further notified that the "temporary post" was created for this purpose with immediate effect.
However, this GO was modified on July 31. The July 31st order modified the July 29th order to the extent that the Special Senior Counsel to "deal with cases allotted by the Government."
The latest notification does not describe the nature of cases that would be alloted by the government to the Special Senior Counsel.
The exact nature of the cases to be handled by the Special Senior Counsel is still unclear, with the last Government Order only indicating that this would be as per the Government's discretion.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Advocate General Vijay Narayan clarified that this post is independent of the Advocate General's office. The cases alloted to the Special Senior Counsel would be as allotted by the Government, as also indicated in the Government Order, he added.
It may, however, be noted that the Tamil Nadu government already has a regular panel of 24 Senior Advocates at the Supreme Court to represent them.
The July 29 order intimates, inter alia, that a monthly retainer fee of Rs 75,000, case fee and other applicable remuneration facilities applicable to the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu is to be paid to the Special Senior Counsel.
Read the orders: