Appointment of Law Officers by the State Government requires to be made on fair, reasonable, non- discriminatory and objective basis
Civil Appeal No. 3194 of 2016
Bench: Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur; Justice Kurian Joseph
Case Brief: The present appeal was accompanied with the Transferred petition and it is involving the very important issue as to whether, appointment of the law officers by the State Governments can be questioned or the process of appointments can be assailed on the ground of arbitrariness, as such violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. A writ petition was filed before the High Court by the Petitioner/ respondent no. 1 herein questioning the fairness and legality of the approach adopted by the State/ appellant herein in picking and choosing candidates for regular appointment and/ or for absorption. The petitioner claimed that the State Government had formulated no criterion and also not followed any norms for absorption on the non- discriminatory basis of those working as Law Officers of the State. Moreover, the claim also extended to dub the absorption of the Petitioner no. 2 and Respondent no. 3 as illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory in the writ petition. Moreover, several directions were also sought against state to lay down policy, guidelines, etc. in connection with the appointment, absorption, re- designation in the office of the Advocate General. The High Court initially made an interim order staying the termination of the services of petitioner, and in response, the State filed an application showing clarification of interim order, but the same was dismissed by the Single Judge of High Court and opined that no clarification of interim order restraining termination was necessary, moreover, state’s LPA was also dismissed, which is brought this bench. Bench observed that the State’s preferred two affidavits shows clearly that there was no procedure for selecting practising advocates for the appointment as law officers has been prescribed by it. Moreover, the state also found asserting the fact that the process of selection and appointment cannot be regulated either by policy or by any statute. Bench also observed that it is well settled that the duty to act fairly and reasonably is the facet of ‘Rule of Law’ in a constitutional democracy like India’s. A long line decision from the apex court ruled that the arbitrariness has no place in a polity governed by rule of law and also under Article 14 of the Constitution. Thus, court found that the appointment of the law officers by the State Government need to be made on fair, reasonable, non- discriminatory and objective basis. Thus, petitions disposed off and directions to the state accordingly given.
Read the Judgement: State of Punjab & Anr. Vs. Brijeshwar Singh Chahal & Anr