20 July 2023 4:35 AM GMT
The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to nominate a Nodal Officer in the rank of Secretary or Additional Secretary of the State Government for dealing with the requests of various departments for the purpose of engaging Advocate General or Additional Advocate Generals in courts. “In this regard, a Nodal officer in the rank of Secretary or Additional Secretary of...
The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to nominate a Nodal Officer in the rank of Secretary or Additional Secretary of the State Government for dealing with the requests of various departments for the purpose of engaging Advocate General or Additional Advocate Generals in courts.
“In this regard, a Nodal officer in the rank of Secretary or Additional Secretary of the State Government shall be specifically nominated for the purpose of dealing with the requests made on behalf of the various departments for nomination of Advocate General and Additional Advocate General for the appearance in important cases by or against the State Government and its Departments,” the court said.
The directions were issued by a bench of Justice R Suresh Kumar and Justice KK Ramakrishnan in a plea filed by the State challenging an earlier order of a single judge directing the State to repay the eligible fee payable to S Ramasamy, former Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu from 2006-2011. Pending proceeding, the amount payable to Ramasamy was already paid and acknowledged by him.
The court also directed that the Nodal Officer should consider the claims of professional fee made from time to time and dispose of them as per conditions within a period of 30 days from the date of claim. To assist the Nodal Officer, the court directed that a minimum secretarial staff shall be provided by the Government.
"The Nodal Officer shall be in constant touch with all other departments of the State Government with regard to their requirement of appointment of higher law officers on specific cases as well as for the clarifications, etc., to be ascertained for the purpose of verification and clearing of the fee bills," said the bench.
The court also directed the State Government to issue the necessary Government Order in this regard within 30 days of receiving the order.
"It is made clear that once the Nodal Officer after thorough consideration and verification, clears the professional fee bill of the law officers, the payment shall be made within 30 days thereafter and it should ensured by the Nodal Officer," it added.
The court also perused a letter by the Advocate General to the Chief Secretary wherein the AG had addressed the issue of non-payment of professional fees saying that though directions had been issued by the High Court, the prevailing system was not efficient.
The Advocate General had also proposed to revamp the system and made four suggestions to the State Government.
The court took note of the AG’s submissions and directed the State to consider implementing the same.
Case Title: The State v S Ramasamy
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 201
Counsel for the Appellants: Mr.R.Shunmugasundaram Advocate General assisted by Mr.K.V.Sajeev Kumar Special Government Pleader
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr.G.Rajkumar for Mr.K.Yuvaraj