The Punjab government has reduced the size of its legal team to make the state’s legal department more transparent, efficacious and cost-effective. The Amarinder Singh led-Congress government on Friday issued a new list of law officers. However, the thing that gained attention in the list was the appointment of kith and kin of judges and political leaders. According to the Indian Express, wife of Punjab’s AG Atul Nanda, wife of the officer on special duty to CM, relatives of retired judges, daughter of a Congress MLA, former Chandigarh Mayor and son-in-law of Akali’s spokesperson along with former law officers from previous Congress and SAD-BJP Government make the new list of law officers including Additional Advocate Generals (AGs), Assistant AGs, Deputy AGs and Senior Deputy AGs.
The names of new law officers of Punjab include Rameeza Hakeem wife of Nanda. She has been appointed to the position of Additional Advocate General. Along with her, Anu Chatrath – a former Chandigarh mayor and daughter of former AG and Congress leader Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Deepali Puri Sandhu – wife of Amarinder’s OSD Sandeep Singh Sandhu, Inder Pal Singh Doabia – son of former Justice TS Doabia, Manjari Nehru Kaul – Daughter of Ravi Kumar Nehru, Gaurav Liberhan – son of judge of Liberhan Commission fame RMS Liberhan, Sandeep Vermani – former law officer in the previous Congress government considered close to Congress leader Manish Tewari and Harmeet Singh Grewal – son of former law officer of Punjab are also appointed among 25 officials on the position, said the report.
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Besides 25 Additional AGs, 49 assistant AGs, 30 deputy AGs and 17 senior deputy AGs have been appointed to complete the list of 121 new law officers. Similar to Additional AGs, the list of other officers also includes names who are kin and kith of judges and political leaders.
While in a PTI report, an official spokesman called out the reason behind cutting short the list of law officers to ensure more transparency, efficaciousness and cost-effectiveness in the state’s legal department, the government did not respond properly on the inclusion of the relatives of judges and political leaders. When The Indian Express contacted AG Atul Nanda over the matter, he said that he does not understand the “negative mindset in the question” aasked to him. “Is it an impediment that somebody is in somebody’s relationship?” asked Nanda.