Court raps HP govt for hiring private lawyers

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the state chief secretary asking him to submit details of the government’s expenditure in the last 10 years on engaging private lawyers for defending its officials in contempt petitions.

“File an affidavit regarding the expenditure incurred by the  government during the last 10 years in engaging private counsel in place of the advocate general or government law-
yers,” a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D C Chaudhary said.

The bench also questioned whether the government duly looked into the justification for engaging private counsel. The court’s observation came while hearing a petition of Indian Police Service officer R M Sharma.

During the hearing, the court observed that the government was paying large amount of fees by hiring private lawyers to defend government officials. In its previous order, the court had observed that contempt was a personal action.

The court said the tax payers’ money has to be spent for development work.

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