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Nagaland Lokayukta pulls up State Law Dept for ‘casual legal advice’

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  • Says highly unsafe for Govt to depend on such legal advice
  • Notice issued to Chief Secretary, Home Commissioner

Dimapur, December 3: Nagaland Lokayukta has slammed the State Law Department for giving “casual legal advice” devoid of basis of law and observed that it may be highly unsafe for the Government of Nagaland to seek and depend on legal advice from the Department.
The Lokayukta made the observation in an order passed today in matters of legal advice given by the State Law Department in an affidavit filed by the Department of Industries and Commerce with regard to complaint filed by Seikedo Yhoshu, Functional Manager (Rtd).
Rather the Nagaland Lokayukta said the legal advice was in the nature of putting affront to the power and function of Lokayukta without reading the provision of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act 2017.
The order referred to Para 12 of the affidavit that contained the legal advice from the State Department of Law that read: “As directed by the Lokayukta, Nagaland it its order No.NLP-2/2019 Dated 27/08/2019, the legal advice of the Justice and Law Department was sought wherein the department vide U.O No. 657 dated 24/09/2019 opined that “The above affidavit-in-opposition as proposed by the IDA Department have been examined and the above not proposed by the IDA Department may be inserted as shown above. Lokayukta is strictly for corruption related cases and such service matters should not have been referred to it. However, the proposed draft affidavit is vetted.”
Nagaland Lokayukta, Justice Uma Nath Singh and Upa-Lokayukta, Mayang Lima said in the order issued today, “It should be a matter of grave concern for the State Government as well as the people of Nagaland at large that if such casual legal advice devoid of basis of law is pressed into service by State legal Advisers, then the State Government may face serious trouble before Judicial Forums.
The order stated that Nagaland Lokayukta had advised departments to get legal advice and vetting by the Law Department before filing their affidavits “but unfortunately, the approach of Law Department is found to be very casual.”
“The officer who has given the legal advice is either ignorant about the law or has given the advice without even having a glance at the provision of the Lokayukta Act,” it observed.
“We are of considered view that it, the advice in question, has been given without reading the provision of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act 2017 and it may be highly unsafe for the State Government to seek and depend upon such legal advice,” the order stated.
Educating the State Law Department on he relevant provisions of the Act dealing with the issue, the order quoting Section 2(1) (g) said “Grievance” means a claim by a person that he suffered injustice or hardship as a consequence of Mal-administration and Section 2(1) (k) defines Mal-administration as “actions taken or purported to have been taken or failed to have been taken, where such action or failure is unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improper or discriminatory or with undue delay or negligent or distortive of procedure, practices etc.. governing such actions.”
The order said the application made by the complainant is based on “grievance” against ‘Maladministration”, and thus it is maintainable under section 10 (1) of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act as well as Section 11 thereof.
Taking serious note of the issue, the order issued notice to the State Chief Secretary and Home Commissioner (who is the Commissioner in charge of Law Department) to file their affidavits as to how far it is safe for the people of Nagaland as also the State Government to depend upon such Law Officers for legal advice.
The State CS and HC were also asked to identify the officer and seek his or explanation and incorporate the same in their affidavits “so that we may pass appropriate order(s) in respect of that officer while deciding and disposing of the case on merit on the next day of hearing.”
The order also termed as not proper for the Principal Secretary of Industries and Commerce to submit a letter without any request for exemption, and directed her to remain present on the next day of hearing.
The matter has been listed for hearing on February 5, 2020. (Page News Service)

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