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Supreme Court Modifies The Order Cancelling Appointments Of Law Officers Of Maharashtra Government [Read Judgment]

The appointments of some law officers of  Maharashtra Government were cancelled by the Government on 28.08.2015. The cancellation was done under the powers of Rule 30(5) of the Maharashtra Law Officers (Appointments, Conditions of Service and Remuneration) Rules 1984. The said Rule enabled the Government to terminate the appointment of a law officer if he is guilty of any act or conduct which, in the opinion of Government, is incompatible with his duties as such Law Officer.

The Bombay High Court quashed the orders of cancellation. Therefore, the State of Maharshtra came in appeal before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court passed an interim order on 29.01.2016 staying the operation of the High Court judgment, thereby reviving the cancellation.

During the pendency of appeal, the term of appointment of the law officers got expired. Therefore, the Supreme Court was presented with a situation of fait accompli. The Court was more concerned about the nature of reliefs which could be granted at such a situation, than the legality or otherwise of the cancellation order. Since the term got expired, there was no point in interfering with the cancellation order anymore.

In such circumstances, the Court modified the cancellation orders, and converted them into orders passed under Rule 30(6). Rule 30(6) provided the Government the power to remove a law officer at pleasure, provided that one month’s notice, or one month’s retainer fee in lieu of notice, was given.  The orders passed under Rule 30(5) causes a stigma to the law officers, and conversion of the same into an order passed under Rule 30(6) removes such stigma.  The Court also directed the Government to pay the law officers one month’s retainer fee in lieu of the notice period.

Read the Judgment Here


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