The Chief Justice Of India on Wednesday, during a hearing observed that an advocate general is considered to be part of the government, and what the Advocate General thinks is what the government thinks.
The observation was made in response to submissions made by Senior Counsel AM Singhvi, in the plea challenging Karnataka High Court's order quashing a Government's order handing over management of management of Mahabaleshwar temple to Ramchandrapura Math.
During the hearing, Dr Singhvi appearing for petitioner made an argument based on the Advocate General's opinion. To this the CJI responded stating that "What is value of opinion of an Advocate General when we are considering an inquiry?"
"What is there is there. This is best inquiry that is there." Singhvi replied. "An advocate general is bound to give an opinion which serves his... whatever", CJI said.
Dr Singhvi responded to CJI's statement calling it a 'debasement of Advocate General's office."
CJI Bobde however clarified that there was no question of a debasement , as an advocate general is considered to be part of the government.
"No there's no question of a debasement. An advocate general is considered to be part of the government, and .....what adv General thinks is what the government thinks", CJI said.
Dr Singhvi then responded stating that the advocate general wears two hats, one as an officer of Government, and other as officer of Court, under Constitution of India.
"Whicone was he wearing this time?" CJI said, referring to the AG's opinion in this particular case.
"He was wearing both the hats. All of us have to discharge these Constitutional duties also. We cannot give a casual opinion contrary to the law. " Dr Singhvi remarked
"We are only weighing sanctity of Advocate General's opinion vis-a-vis inquiry under a statute." CJI said. Later during the hearing, Sr Adv Ranjit Kumar informed the Court that Inquiry in form of tehsildar, deputy tehsildar, Assistant and deputy commissioner and Advocate general, etc went into consideration when the State government made the decision regarding the Temple.
"However high an officer the Advocate General may be, he is not a part of the enquiry", CJI said. Senior Counsel Singhi, in course of the hearing, submitted before the Court that the impugned order passed by the High Court could not have been passed and was jurisdictionally impermissible.
Singhvi further said that he is making a legal submission, that impugned order could not passed and it is jurisdictionally impermissible. One of this court's most hallowed principles is that, PIL cannot be based on personal, political and private interest, and in the case he also said 'paisa vasool' interest.
"My brother has also added one 'philosophical interest " CJI said
Singhvi further stated that he personally would be prepared to allow some philosophical PIL, as there may be genuine public interest in the philosophy that they propound. CJI Bobde then shared an instance when in a similar case, they had asked Dr Subramanian Swamy about his interest in the plea and he had said 'philosophical interest'
"Dr Swamy and I don't agree on most things, but we share a good relationship", Dr Singhvi said.
"Infact he is quite used to it, as most people don't agree with him." CJI remarked.
The bench has reserved orders on interim relief in the case relating to the management of Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple.