Don''t approach law officers directly for legal opinion: Govt

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Unhappy with its law officersgiving independent advice to various ministries withoutconsulting it, the Law Ministry has shot off a letter to allcentral ministries and departments, asking them not toapproach them directly for opinions on litigations.

The Ministry has also asked its law officers not toentertain requests from different ministries and departmentswithout getting a reference from it.

"All the Ministries and Departments are requested not toseek legal opinion or advice directly from the Law Officersand necessary instructions in this regard may also be issuedto all PSUs/Autonomous Bodies under their control," a LawMinistry note said.

Sources said the move is aimed at preventing a situationwhere the Law Ministry is caught unawares in courts onsensitive cases at a time when government is regularly gettingcornered by the judiciary in high profile cases.

The note, which has the approval of Law Minister MVeerappa Moily, has also referred to Rule 8 of the LawOfficers (Condition of Services Rules), 1972 which clearlystates that any law officer "shall not advice any Ministry orDepartment of Government of India...unless the proposal or areference in this regard is received through the Ministry ofLaw and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs."

The law officers including the Attorney General and theSolicitor General have also been requested not to directlyentertain any requests for legal opinion without gettingreference from the Ministry.

Law Secretary D R Meena had written a similar letter tothe law officers in August last year in which he had statedthat "off late, it has been noticed that law officers aretendering advice to various ministries/government departmentsdirectly without receiving a reference from the Ministry andthereby creating embarrassing situations..." PTI NAB SGI

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