The Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) accused State Govt for giving “special treatment” to the national convener of the BJP legal cell while engaging him as counsel for the state.
Maheshwar Singh president of HLP said that the government had a battery of advocates comprising one advocate-general, eight additional advocates-general, eight deputy advocates-general, four assistant advocates-general, but still a large number of cases were being assigned to other advocates from outside the state. His party had already obtained details pertaining to 21 cases assigned to Satya Pal Jain and many RTI applications were in the pipeline as the authorities concerned were trying their best to deny or delay information.
He said noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, engaged as Advocate-on-Record to represent the state in the Supreme Court, was being paid in accordance with the terms and conditions notified in April 9, 2003, as per which the fees per appearance was Rs 5,500 per hearing for miscellaneous cases and Rs 11,000 for regular cases. Senior advocates, including B Dutta and PN Nag, were being paid accordingly, while JS Attri, who handled the all-important BBMB claim case, is entitled a per appearance fee of Rs 1,100 for miscellaneous cases and Rs 2,000 for regular cases.
However, in case of Jain, the notification appointing him to represent the state in the high court and the Central Administrative Tribunal dated August 3, 2009, stated that the fee in each case would be settled by a senior functionary of the administrative department keeping in view the nature of the case, subject to the concurrence of the Law Department and approval of the Finance Department. He revealed that as per the RTI information, he was paid fee ranging from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1.10 lakh per appearance.