The Central Vigilance Commission has found alleged irregularities in the empanelment of counsel by Law Ministry to assist it in various legal matters.
According to a preliminary investigation done by the anti-corruption watchdog, advocates were being empanelled on the basis of political recommendations and there were instances of improper work allocation-- for revenue and non-revenue matters-- among them.
The probe, which began last year, said there was no categorisation available--for revenue and non-revenue specialists-- on record by the ministry.
"The very categorisation of panel counsels as specialised in revenue and non revenue cases was not supported by a due process of scrutiny of experience or profile of the panel counsels. Certain inconsistencies were observed by the CVC team in the categorisation of panel counsels as revenue specialist," the report said.
The irregularities were noted in Judicial Section under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice which is responsible for the appointment of law officers.
As per the norms, advocates are empanelled as panel counsels to assist the law officers in dealing with the litigations on behalf of Central government. The empanelment of advocates is done in three categories--Panel-A, Panel-B and Panel-C--as per their seniority and experience.
Examination by the CVC team showed that the empanelment of advocates as panel counsels by the judicial section of the Department of Legal Affairs was based largely on recommendations.
"Recommendations from very important persons viz. Solicitors or Additional Solicitors General of India, Ministers, Members of Parliament and other prominent persons were received by the Minister of Law and Justice and sometimes by the Secretary of the Department," it said in its report which has yet not reached its logical conclusion.
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