Reporter's Diary: Should govt wait till court cracks the whip?

The judge who heard the case indicated his court had noticed several times that the respondent counsels for the transport department were not appearing for quite some time.
 Madras High Court
Madras High CourtFile

CHENNAI: In an unprecedented outcome, the Madras High Court recently directed the TN government to appoint a coordinating officer for standing counsels of the state-run transport corporations, to defend cases against them.

The judge who heard the case indicated his court had noticed several times that the respondent counsels for the transport department were not appearing for quite some time.

The dilemma was due to the alleged bafflement in swapping the old counsels affiliated with the former ruling party and ally with law officers close to new government.

A few existing standing counsels who managed to befriend the current regime were supposed to retain their stature. However, losing prominence when it matters most had irked advocates associated with the ruling party and their uproar upset opponents’ apple cart. After edging out their opponents, ruling party loyalists then got their appointment orders as the new standing counsels for the transport corporations.

While it was seen as a settled issue, the judge’s recent observation about the unavailability of counsels threw light on the persisting enigma. Several cases filed during the former regime are yet to be disposed of.

For defending the transport corporation in old cases, counsels had been appointed by the previous law officers.

When such litigations are coming up, the counsels appointed earlier are distancing themselves as they are not in office now.

Even though the new standing counsels are there, the failure in coordination resulted in setbacks in courtrooms, something now perceived to have been avoided.

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