DB directs Law Secy to appear in person

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 16: In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Rufi Khan and other final year students of Graduation in Law, University of Jammu, seeking effective prosecution to prevent crime, convict the offenders and to make punishments a real deterrent, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat today directed Law Secretary to appear in person.
When the PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Rohit Kapoor sought time to challenge the State Government’s decision on maintaining status quo with regard to the post of Law Secretary and Member Secretary of State Legal Services Authority.
Presently, these posts are manned by the members of the civil services of the J&K Government. However, the plea of the petitioners is that the post of Law Secretary and the Member Secretary is required to be manned only by a Principal District and Sessions Judge. “This is vital in view of the functional requirements for administration of justice. Having the experience in the legal profession and being Member of Higher Judicial Services of the State, District & Sessions Judges are in a better position to perform variegated legal tasks of the office including evaluating suitability of a person to be considered for the assignment of public prosecutor and law officer”, the counsel for the petitioners submitted.
“There appears to be no credible reason with the State Government for not having these posts to be held by District and Sessions Judges. Having considered the comparative advantage, a resolution was passed in Chief Justices and Chief Ministers conference held in New Delhi in April 2013 in this regard, that has already been placed on record”, Advocate Rohit submitted, adding “it is an institutional commitment made by the State having implications involving public interest and therefore a mandamus can be issued”.
On this, DB observed, “despite granting time to produce the Cabinet decision of the year 2010 regarding appointment of Member-Secretary Legal Services Authority not agreeing with the proposal sent by the High Court, the decision has not been placed on record”.
Accordingly, DB directed Commissioner Secretary Law Department to remain present on March 18 along with copy of the Cabinet decision.

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