No reservation policy has been followed in the appointment of law officers in the High Court of Madras and its bench at Madurai as the post of law officer is temporary and engaged on a contractual basis, according to the information furnished by the Public Department (Law Officers) in response to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The applicant, M. Mohanraj, an advocate from Thiruvanmiyur, sought to know whether the rule of reservation was applicable to the appointment of law officers to the High Court. The applicant also sought to know how many applications were received and rejected, and whether any written test or interview was conducted for the appointment.
Over 2,400 applicants
Replying to the query, the Public Department said 2,485 applicants had applied for the posts of law officers in the Madras High Court and its Madurai Bench.
“After scrutinising the applications, the Advocate General sent a list of eligible candidates. After going through the list, the Selection Committee made recommendations. Based on which, the law officers were appointed by the Government. No written test or interviews were held,” the reply said. It added that as the post of law officer was temporary and contractual, no reservation was followed and no community-wise data was collected. All law officers except the Advocate General and the Additional Public Prosecutor were appointed as per the Law Officers of High Court of Madras and its Bench at Madurai (Appointment) Rules, 2017. Whereas, the Advocate General was appointed as per Section Article 165 of the Constitution of India and the public prosecutor and additional public prosecutor were appointed as per the Section 24(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Therefore, applications were not usually invited for these posts, the RTI reply said.
S. Karuppaiah, State president of the All India Confederations of SC/ST Organisations, has sent a representation to the Chief Minister to ensure that the reservation policy was followed during the appointment of law officers.
“No fair representation was given to the people of the SC/ST, BC and MBC communities in the appointment of law officers. But an office memorandum of the Government of India stipulates the rule of reservation for temporary or contractual posts of more than 45 days. We urged the Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and ensure due adequate representation as per the reservation rules of the Tamil Nadu Government,” Mr. Karuppaiah said.
Aranga Gunasekaran, president of the Tamizhaga Makkal Puratchi Kazhagam, said, “Only six persons from the SC/ST community were appointed as law officers. As per the reservation policy, at least 36 persons from SC/ST community should have been appointed. The present Government can correct this if there was any precedent set by previous governments.”
Over 200 law officers were appointed in the Madras High Court and its bench at Madurai since the present Government took charge in last May. The law officers included Advocate General, Additional Advocate General, government pleader, special government pleader, government advocate (civil), State public prosecutor, additional public prosecutor, government advocate (criminal). Apart from this, 2,000 more law officer post are being filled up for over 800 special, civil and criminal courts across the 38 districts of the State.