Job scam: CVC finds alleged irregularities in empanelment of advocates

of the recommended lawyers to the Minister of Law and Justice for approval.

"Instances where the recommended names were not empanelled were rare. The CVC team observed that there was no process of due diligence to ascertain the merit and suitability of the recommended advocates before considering them for empanelment. The system derived assurance about the suitability of a lawyer solely from the recommendation of the VIPs and the discretion of the Minister of Law and Justice.

"It may therefore be concluded that the procedure adopted for empanelment of advocates was neither based on open competition nor on considerations of merit and was thus a subjective process. It did not provide equal opportunity to all. Arranging a VIP reference was a prerequisite for an advocate to get himself or herself empanelled as a panel counsel," the report said.

The probe, done on the basis of files pertaining empanelment of panel counsels conducted by the Judicial Wing for 2009 and 2010 among others method, was done by a team of senior CVC officials apparently on the basis of complaints of alleged corruption received by the probity watchdog. There were about 600 empanelled counsels to assist the law officers.

CVC had declined to share the copy of inquiry report and follow-up action in response to an RTI query. "The matter has not reached its logical conclusion. Therefore, the information is denied under Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act, 2005," the reply said.

The section bars disclosure of "information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders".

The CVC team also observed that there was no system of monitoring of a litigation from starting to its conclusion. "The proceedings register only recorded the outcome of a case on a particular day or hearing and there was no traceability or complete trail of the cases," it said.

... contd.

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