AP High Court issues notice in plea challenging N Harinath’s appointment as ASG on ground of not being enrolled with the AP Bar Council
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AP High Court issues notice in plea challenging N Harinath’s appointment as ASG on ground of not being enrolled with the AP Bar Council

Stating that Harinath is a member of the Telangana Bar Council, the petitioner argues, "the Political Executive cannot bring an Advocate of different Bar Council and appoint him in another State as Law Officer."

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

The Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued notice on a writ petition challenging the Advocate N Harinath’s appointment as the Assistant Solicitor-General (ASG) attached for the Andhra Pradesh High Court (Solomon Raju v. Union of India and Ors).

On June 16, Justice G Shyam Prasad passed an order seeking responses from the Centre and Assistant Solicitor General N Harinath on the plea filed by Advocate Solomon Raju.

Advocate Harinath’s appointment as ASG has been assailed on the ground that Harinath is not enrolled with the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh. Rather, it is highlighted that Harinath is enrolled with with Telangana Bar Council.

In this backdrop, Raju argues that “the action of the respondent No:1 in appointing the 5th respondent as Assistant Solicitor General in respect of A.P. High Court by Order dated 20.05.2020 thereby depriving the right of the Advocates of AP High Court Bar Association/ Bar Council as illegal, irregular, irrational, contrary to section 6(d) & (e) of Advocates Act, 1961 and violative of Article 14, 16 and 21 of Constitution of India.

The petitioner further submits that “the post of Asst. Solicitor General (appearing in the Andhra Pradesh High Court) is a post which is exclusively meant for A.P. High Court.

He adds that the Central Government has to prefer an Advocate on the rolls of the respective State Bar Council in appointing ASGs.

“… since all the nominated posts are politically interlinked, the Political Executive has got some hold over the appointments. However, such power of appointments shall be restricted to the particular State and the Political Executive cannot bring an Advocate of different Bar Council and cannot appoint him in another State as Law Officer.”
Petitioner

The petitioner’s affidavit contends that ASG Harinath's appointment is hit by arbitrariness and lack of transparency. He further claims discrimination against advocates of the Andhra Pradesh Bar Council.

As per the affidavit, Advocate Harinath previously served as an elected member of the Bar Council of Telangana and continued to serve until May this year. Moreover, Advocate Harinath was Standing Counsel for the Telangana High Court as well, the plea states.

Among his other submissions, the Petitioner argues that “the very spirit of Article 16 (of the Constitution) is gravely violated in the present appointment, as the Advocates from the A.P. Bar Association and the Advocates on the rolls of the A.P. Bar Council were deprived of the opportunity."

The very purpose of Article 371-D thereby amending the constitution to provide equitable opportunities and facilities to the people across the state is also violated”, it is added.

In his petition, Advocate Raju has also called for the formulation of criteria for the appointment of the ASGs in general, arguing that it is being done without complying with any pre-determined guideline.

As stated in the petition, "there is no specific eligibility criteria set out … and thus even a fresher who enrolled with Bar Council and completed his AIBE is qualified to be appointed. Thus the 1st respondent (the Centre) has to formulate the guidelines."

In this regard, the Petitioner further states that the Office Memorandum describing the process of appointment merely “specifies about tenure and allocation of cases, it does not even specify the criteria and eligibility.

The case will be taken up for hearing next on July 14.

Read the Order:

Solomon Raju v. Union of India and Ors - AP HC Order of June 16.pdf
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