Don`t approach law officers directly for legal opinion: Govt

Last Updated: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 17:43

New Delhi: Unhappy with its law officers
giving independent advice to various ministries without
consulting it, the Law Ministry has shot off a letter to all
central ministries and departments, asking them not to
approach them directly for opinions on litigations.

The Ministry has also asked its law officers not to
entertain requests from different ministries and departments
without getting a reference from it.

"All the Ministries and Departments are requested not to
seek legal opinion or advice directly from the Law Officers
and necessary instructions in this regard may also be issued
to all PSUs/Autonomous Bodies under their control," a Law
Ministry note said.

Sources said the move is aimed at preventing a situation
where the Law Ministry is caught unawares in courts on
sensitive cases at a time when government is regularly getting
cornered by the judiciary in high profile cases.

The note, which has the approval of Law Minister M
Veerappa Moily, has also referred to Rule 8 of the Law
Officers (Condition of Services Rules), 1972 which clearly
states that any law officer "shall not advice any Ministry or
Department of Government of India...unless the proposal or a
reference in this regard is received through the Ministry of
Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs."

The law officers including the Attorney General and the
Solicitor General have also been requested not to directly
entertain any requests for legal opinion without getting
reference from the Ministry.

Law Secretary D R Meena had written a similar letter to
the law officers in August last year in which he had stated
that "off late, it has been noticed that law officers are
tendering advice to various ministries/government departments
directly without receiving a reference from the Ministry and
thereby creating embarrassing situations..."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 17:43

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