The post of AG in the state is lying vacant since the resignation of former AG and senior counsel Shrihari Aney, who had stepped down from the position in March. Aney had resigned from his post after his difference in opinion with the state government on various issues like farmer’s suicide, separate statehood for Vidharbha etc. Interestingly, Chief Minsiter Devendra Fadnavis had in October told the Free Press Journal that his cabinet would soon be taking a decision over the appointment of an AG. However, it has been a month and there has been no decision yet.
The Bombay High Court on Monday rapped the Maharashtra government for delaying in appointing a new Advocate General (AG) for the state. The court directed the government to file a reply stating the time period within which it would appoint a new full time AG.
The direction came from a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai while hearing a petition filed by Member of Legislative Council Sanjay Dutt. The petition sought a direction to the government to appoint a new AG soon. The petition also challenged the appointment of an Acting Advocate General, the post which is at present held by Rohit Deo.
The bench said, “It is high time that the government must appoint an AG it has been more than six months that the government has no AG to represent the State.”
“Can you (government) tell us how can a state function without an AG which is a constitutional position,” the bench asked additional government pleader Geeta Shastri.
The bench also said, “Several cases challenging the constitutional provisions are pending before various courts as there is no AG to address them. There have been petitions which have challenged the statements made by the acting AG.”
Former Acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court and senior counsel of Supreme Court, Nagendra Rai appearing for Dutt told the bench that the post of Acting AG is against the Constitution of India and the same must be declared as ‘unconstitutional’. The next hearing has been scheduled for December 14.