CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi faced flak from leaders of his own party on Wednesday for ousting the advocate general, with former state Congress president Sunil Jakhar calling him a “really compromised CM”.
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari, who is an MP from Anandpur Sahib, took a swipe at his own party government over the issue, saying politicising the AG’s office “undermines” the integrity of constitutional functionaries.
The remarks came after the Channi government on Tuesday accepted the resignation of advocate general APS Deol, yielding to the pressure mounted by Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu for replacing the state’s AG.
Channi had said a new advocate general would be appointed.
Reacting to the development, former Congress chief Jakhar in a tweet said, “The ouster of a competent yet ‘allegedly’ compromised officer has exposed a ‘really’ compromised CM.”
“Giving rise to a pertinent question- Whose government is it anyway?” asked Jakhar, who was among the frontrunners for the post of Punjab chief minister after the resignation of Amarinder Singh.
Tewari in a series of tweets said both previous advocate generals of Punjab became “punching bags in proxy political wars”.
“Those who subvert the institution of AG’s office need to remember a lawyer is neither wedded to a client or a brief, Tewari tweeted.
He said since the Punjab government is going to appoint a new advocate general, they would be well advised to peruse rules of professional standards prescribed by the Bar Council of India.
“An advocate is bound to accept any brief in the courts or tribunals or before any other authority in or before which he proposes to practise. He should levy fees which is at par with the fees collected by fellow advocates of his standing at the Bar and the nature of the case,” the senior Congress leader tweeted.
“Special circumstances may justify his refusal to accept a particular brief. Politicising AG’s office undermines the integrity of Constitutional functionaries,” he added.
Sidhu had been pushing for the replacement of Deol who had represented former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in cases related to the 2015 post-sacrilege police firing incidents.
Sidhu had also been targeting his own party government over the appointment of officiating director general of police Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota who was the head of the special investigation team formed by previous SAD-BJP government to probe sacrilege incidents.
There had been unease between both Channi and Sidhu over the appointments of the advocate general and the DGP.
On Monday, Sidhu while targeting the state government over the advocate general and DGP had said, “(Either) choose compromised officers or the PPCC chief.”
He had even stepped down in September as the Punjab Congress chief while questioning the appointments of the AG and the DGP.
Last week, Sidhu had said that he had withdrawn his resignation as the Punjab Congress chief but had also put a precondition that he would resume the charge the day a new advocate general is appointed in place of Deol and a panel for the appointment of a new director general of police comes from the UPSC.