Punjab restores Advocate General`s Cabinet status

Weeks after the post of Punjab Advocate General was downgraded to "contractual employee", state govt restored the status to state`s top law officer.

Chandigarh: Three weeks after the post of Punjab Advocate General was downgraded to a post of a "contractual employee", the state government on Wednesday restored the status to the state`s top law officer.

"The Punjab Government has accorded rank and status of a Cabinet Minister to Advocate General of Punjab Ashok Aggarwal," an official release said here today, adding that a notification has been issued in this regard.

Earlier this month, the state government had withdrew its order downgrading the post of the top law officer of the state.

The Judicial branch- 1 of the Department of Home Affairs and Justice had downgraded the post of the AG to that of a "contractual employee" even though the law officer had been given the rank equivalent to that of a Cabinet minister.

Reiterating the Constitutional sanctity of the post, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had on May 9 directed the Home Department "to immediately withdraw the letter written to the AG."

Taking cognizance of reports in a section of the media, the CM had asked the Principal Secretary Home (PSH) to personally call on the AG Ashok Aggarwal and explain the entire position.

Badal had also asked the PSH to hold an inquiry into the matter to ascertain the facts and fix the responsibility of the concerned erring officer/officials for the lapse.

The release did not detail the action, if any, taken against the officials who had issued the earlier order downgrading the post of the AG.

The communication was sent to extend the "contract" of the law officers of the state beyond May 31 when the present term was to expire had added that the AG was like any other law officer hired on contract basis.

The posts whose tenure had been extended included that of the AG, Senior Additional Advocate General, Additional Advocate General, Senior Deputy Advocate General and Assistant Advocate General.