Empanelment of advocates largely based on political recommendations: CVC
Judicial Section under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice is responsible for appointing Law officers and empanels advocates as panel counsels to assist the law officers in dealing with the litigations on behalf of the government. The empanelment is done in three categories-- A, B and C--as per seniority and experience.
The Central Vigilance Commission has found gross irregularities in the process of empanelment in its probe that started previous year. As per preliminary investigation by CVC, advocates were being empanelled on the basis of political recommendations rather than on their merit. It was found that that there was no system of monitoring of a litigation from starting to its conclusion. Further, the work allocation among them -- for revenue and non-revenue matters—was not supported by a due process of scrutiny of experience or profile of the counsels.
The CVC also found that there was no system of monitoring of litigation from starting to its conclusion. The proceedings register records only outcomes and not the complete trail of the cases. When asked for the details under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the CVC declined to provide information under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Act claiming that it would impede the process of investigation.