Termination of retainer of Government Pleaders

Termination of appointment of Pleaders without stating any reason:

In Maharashtra the relevant Rules governing the appointment and termination of Government pleaders is Rules 30 (5) and (6) of the which reads as under:

“30. Period of Appointment.

(5) A Law Officer shall be liable to be removed from his office at any time, if he is guilty of any act or conduct which, in the opinion of Government, in the Law and Judiciary Department, is incompatible with his duties as such Law Officer. The decision of Government in the Law and Judiciary Department in such cases shall be final.

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rules(2) and (3), but save as otherwise provided in sub-rule(5), the appointment of any Law Officer, which is at the pleasure of the Government may at any time, be terminated by Government in the Law and Judiciary Department by giving him one month’s notice or, where any retainer is payable to such Law Officer, be terminated forthwith by paying him one month’s retainer in lieu of such notice.”

In past similar terminations of retainers found to be arbitrary has been struck down. [See Kumari Shrilekha Vidyarthi Vs. State of U.P., (1991) 1 SCC 212 State of U.P. Vs. Johri Mal, (2004) 4 SCC 714 and State of U.P. & Ors. Vs. Ajay Kumar Sharma, (2016) 15 SCC 289.] In this recent case the termination was modified as under:

“Having regard to the background facts, nature of controversy, the subsequent events and the consequences which are likely to result due to subsequent events occurring in the case, we consider it just and proper and in the interest of justice to modify the order of cancellation dated 28.08.2015 by treating the same to have been passed under Rule 30(6) of the Rules. In other words, the interest of justice would be fully met if the cancellation order dated 28.08.2015 is held to have been passed under to Rule 30(6).

Since we have modified the order dated 28.08.2015 by treating it to have been passed under Rule 30(6), the State is directed to ensure compliance of Rule 30(6) and accordingly pay one month’s retainer in lieu of notice period to each respondent as was fixed in their respective appointment letters.”

[Source: State Of Maharashtra vs Kishor M. Gadhave Patil, decided by SC on 5 September, 2017]


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