Kejriwal raises financial limit of departments' legal fee

Kejriwal raises financial limit of departments' legal fee

Kejriwal raises financial limit  of departments' legal fee

For effective fighting of court cases, especially those related to service matters of government employees, the Delhi government has decided to loosen its purse strings to attract the best legal talent.

The limits for payment of fees to the Delhi government have been upwardly revised and the new limit in some case of a department is virtually 20 times of the Rs 10 lakh that was fixed a few years ago.

The decision to spend more on talented lawyers seems in sync with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resolve to forcefully present the AAP government’s view and, if needed, fight for its rights against the Centre in legal fora.

Litigation involving Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s office, environment issues emerging from National Green Tribunal decisions, power discoms, transporters and taxi aggregators and private school association have seen a spurt since the AAP government came to power.

Political matters involving defamation and other political statements issued by Kejriwal and his cabinet ministers and complaints in courts over alleged corruption by AAP government ministers were also considered before enhancing the legal fee limit for departments. 

The decision to raise the limit for fees payable to advocates was conveyed to all departments by Principal Secretary (Finance) S N Sahai.

In a note, Sahai said the competent authority is pleased to enhance the financial delegation of the Administrative Secretaries in respect of fees payable to advocates to the extent: General Administration Department Rs 2 crore, Education Department Rs 50 lakh, Health and Family Welfare Rs 50 lakh and Transport Department Rs 50 lakh.

Giving a free hand to the departments to select a panel of private lawyers, Sahai cautioned that steps in that direction could be taken only through the law department.

“The department concerned shall obtain the approval of the Law Department for the engagement of the advocates those who are not in the approved panel of Law Department,” said Sahai.

Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia held several rounds of discussions with department heads to identify the problem behind government’s failure to win favourable decisions in courts.

The process for strengthening the legal team of the AAP government began soon after the Kejriwal government’s first anniversary in February.

The last office memorandum on the issue of  delegation of power to accord expenditure sanction in respect of fees payable to advocates was issued on March 2.
DH News Service

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