Himachal gets notice on private counsel for officials
Shimla, June 20 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday issued notice to the state chief secretary asking him to submit details of the government's spending in the past 10 years on engaging private lawyers for defending its officials in contempt petitions.
"File an affidavit regarding the expenditure incurred by the state government during the last 10 years in engaging private counsel in place of the advocate general or government lawyers," 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 amounts of fees by hiring private lawyers to defend government officials.
In its previous order the court had observed that contempt was a personal action.
"It (the contempt) has nothing to do with the official discharge of duties. Why should money from the government exchequer be spent," the court said.
It said the tax payers' money has to be spent for development work.
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