8 months gone and Solicitor General post still lies vacant
New Delhi, July 2: All expectations that the government would appoint a new solicitor general before the opening of the Supreme Court after a 44-day long summer vacations have failed to materialise, raising concerns in the legal fraternity.
The post, the second highest ranking law officer of the government, had fell vacant after senior advocate Ranjit Kumar's resignation in October 20 last year.
At present there are seven additional solicitors generals (ASG) in the apex court -- Maninder Singh, Tushar Mehta, Atmaram Nadkarni, Pinky Anand, Vikramjit Banerjee, Aman Lekhi and Sandeep Sethi.
Reacting on the need for immediate appointment to the post, senior advocate Mohan Parasaran said this was a high constitutional post which should not be kept vacant for a long time.
He said the government must be looking for a good candidate and difference of opinions might have led to the delay.
"The government was trying to manage somehow but the post should not be kept vacant for long. There is no compulsion as per the rules to have a solicitor general and there have been instances earlier during the tenure of late Rajiv Gandhi when the office was vacant for more than six months.
"Undoubtedly, the work is suffering due to vacancy at the post and the government must look out for some suitable candidate as quickly as possible. The whole exercise will help the Supreme Court as well, as very sensitive and important matters are pending before it," Parasaran, who was a solicitor general during UPA-II regime, told PTI.
Another senior advocate said on condition of anonymity that it is imperative for the Centre to appoint a solicitor general as several important cases are likely to come up for hearing after the vacation.
After Kumar tendered resignation, names of some ASGs had cropped up for the position. However, sources said that no names could be finalised as some BJP leaders favoured pushing the name of a senior advocate close to the Sangh Parivar for the appointment.
Immediately after the reopening of the court, several important cases like challenge to Nikah Halala, the Ayodhya land dispute, the Cauvery river dispute, sealing issue and many environmental cases are likely to come up for hearing.