The Andhra Pradesh High Court last week issued notice on a plea challenging the May 20 action of the Union Law Ministry in appointing N. Harinath as Assistant Solicitor General in respect of the High Court.
It is contended that the appointment order is in contravention of sections 6(d) and 49(1)(ah) of Advocates Act, 1961 and violative of Articles 14, 16 and 21 of Constitution of India, in as much as it deprives the right of the Advocates of AP High Court Bar Association/ Bar Council. Section 6(d) imposes on the state bar council the function to safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates on its roll. Section 49(1)(ah) deals with the power of the BCI to stipulate the conditions subject to which an advocate shall have the right to practise and the circumstances under which a person shall be deemed to practise as an advocate in a court.
The plea, by Advocate M. Solomon Raju, avers that in the recent developments in the A.P. High Court, the post of Asst. Solicitor General fell vacant. Earlier this post was held by an Advocate who belongs to Andhra Pradesh and since the Advocate Elevated as Judge of this Court, the post fell vacant.
It is submitted that in the said backdrop, the said post was to be filled up with an Advocate practicing in A.P. High Court who is on the rolls of the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh. "In the recent past, many Advocates of Telangana State especially Advocates on the rolls of Telangana Bar Council were brought into Andhra Pradesh High Court and they were appointed as Government Pleaders and Asst. Government Pleaders. In so far as appointment of Government Pleaders and Asst. Government Pleaders are concerned, it was made by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh. Similar to that the 1st respondent (UOI) without considering the aspect that the 5th respondent belongs to Telangana Bar Council and he is a Elected Member there for the 2nd time, appointed him
as Asst. Solicitor General. In fact this is bad in law for the reason that he does not belong to Andhra Pradesh and he is not on the Bar Council Rolls as on the day of appointment. Also, I verified with Bar Council and came to know that his membership with Bar Council is not registered. The 5th respondent submitted his Certificate of Practice in Telangana Bar Council and he also received Medical Card from Telangana Bar Council. Thus he got benefits from the said Bar Council", it is argued.
The petitioner submits that since all the nominated posts are politically interlinked, the Political Executive has got some hold over the appointments. However, such power of appointments shall be restricted to the particular State and the Political Executive cannot bring an Advocate of different Bar Council
and cannot appoint him in another State as a Law Officer.
It is narrated that until 31st December, 2018 the High Court served as the common High Court for both states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. There was a huge rift between Andhra and Telangana Advocates from the year 2010 to 2014. The Advocates of Andhra Pradesh especially those who practiced in the united High Court at Hyderabad, suffered severe humiliation. They were beaten black and blue, insulted in filthy language and daily there were boycotts and Dharnas asking them to go back to Andhra.
"There were many differences between Andhra and Telangana Advocates, where boycotts used to go on weekly once or twice in the High Court. Many days the common High Court functioning was affected at the request of the elected Presidents, Secretaries of the Association. This way the things worsened and the Telangana Movement got momentum from the Advocates of Local Bars and they too joined. For many days, the High Court of Hyderabad used to publish a notice in the last page of Causelist that an Advocate will not be allowed into the premises unless his name is not figured in the causelist, this was issued in order to prevent physical manhandling of the Advocates. This caused much trauma and suffering to the Advocates who are practicing", it is urged.
The plea narrates how when an Advocate from Hyderabad was appointed as the Advocate General in respect of the Meghalaya High Court, the entire Bar Association protested and the Advocate General resigned within a week and returned to Hyderabad.
It is contended that Harinath does not have any right of vote in the AP HC Bar Association and also the AP State Bar Council as of now. For all purposes he shall be treated as an Advocate of Telangana state. Till May 20, he was holding the post as standing counsel and also for the National Investigating Agency in Telangana High Court.
"Also if an Advocate is elevated from Bar to Bench, then his standing at the High Court Bar or the Bar Council will be considered only in that particular state, i.e. an Advocate of AP High Court Bar Association/Council cannot be considered for a Judge in Tamil Nadu High Court or any other High Court in India. For the purpose of direct elevation from the Bar, the first
impediment is that the Advocate shall be from the respective Bar Association and Bar Council, in case of transfer it's a different procedure", the plea brings to the bench's attention.
It is advanced that the very spirit of Article 16 is gravely violated in the present appointment, as the Advocates from the A.P. Bar Association and the Advocates on the rolls of the A.P. Bar Council were deprived of the opportunity. The very purpose of Article 371-D thereby amending the constitution to provide equitable opportunities and facilities to the people across the state is also violated. "The present post that fell vacant is a post which is exclusively within the jurisdiction and territory of the State and thus an Advocate from out of state Bar Council cannot be brought into", it is reinforced.
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