Uttar Pradesh govt paid Rs 4.6 cr to BSP MP for legal work

Rajya Sabha MP Satish Chandra Misra was paid Rs 4.64 crore for appearing in the Supreme Court on behalf of Uttar Pradesh government during the last three years of BSP chief Mayawati's rein, an RTI query has revealed.

Though Misra did not appear for the government in the first two years -- 2007-08 and 2008-09 -- of Mayawati's rule, she appeared to have brought in her troubleshooter, who helped her weave a rainbow coalition in 2007 and win the Assembly polls defeating the Samajwadi Party, in the next three years.

According to an RTI reply given to activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal, the UP government said he was given Rs 1.80 crore in 2009-10, while it paid to Rs 2.21 crore to Mishra in the next fiscal. In 2011-12, Misra billed the UP government Rs 62.70 lakh for his services in the Supreme Court. Misra could not be contacted for his comments.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati had appeared thrice for the UP government during 2009-11 and charged Rs 10.35 lakh. It is not unusual for leaders appearing for governments led by their parties in Supreme Court and other courts but a question has been raised whether political propriety allows a state government to engage their own leaders on a regular basis allowing them to garner money. Misra was not in the panel of lawyers the UP government had during Mayawati's rule between 2007 and 2012. The Mayawati government has engaged several senior lawyers like K K Venugopal, P P Rao, Mukul Rohtagi, Harish Salve and Gopal Subramaniam besides others to fight their case.

Senior lawyer K K Venugopal was another lawyer preferred by the Mayawati regime as it paid him around Rs 2.70 crore in five years appearing around 66 times in Supreme Court.
However, present government led by Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav appears to be not that keen in engaging Venugopal as he appeared only once for the state in 2012-13 for a fee of Rs 3.30 lakh.

Agarwal said that it amounts to conflict of interest if a party engages its on leaders to fight cases. "The senior lawyers are engaged for a higher fee. If there is a legal fight between UP government and a common man, then how can a common man fight? I feel Supreme Court should put an upper limit on fee of lawyers," he told Deccan Herald. The RTI reply also showed that the UP government spend Rs 22.37 crore for prominent advocates, who were out of its panel, to appear in Supreme Court between 2007-08 and till October 2013.

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