Current Affairs

RTI activist files complaint in CAG against Advocate General

A complaint has been filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) against the very exorbitant fees being paid to the Advocate General of Goa Atmaram Nadkarni.

Adv. Rodrigues met the Accountant General of Goa Devika Nayar and
while submitting the complaint sought her prompt intervention in the matter. A copy of the complaint has also been faxed to CAG in New Delhi.

Adv.Aires Rodrigues in his complaint has stated that Goa despite being the smallest state is not only hosting India’s highest paid Advocate General but the country’s highest paid public servant.

Pointing out that the President of India is paid Rs 1, 50,000 a month, the Chief Justice of India Rs 1, 00,000, a High Court Judge Rs 80,000 and the Attorney General of India equivalent to the salary of a Supreme Court Judge which is Rs 90,000, Adv. Rodrigues in his complaint has stated that Advocate General of Goa Atmaram Nadkarni out beats them all, while he gets paid upto a whopping eight lakhs a month besides Rs 75,000 for every official visit to New Delhi.

Adv. Rodrigues has stated that this gross anomaly defies all logic and that public funds cannot be allowed to be squandered in such a high-handed manner as it was contrary to accountability, transparency and good governance.

Adv. Rodrigues has further stated that compared with the fees paid to other Advocate Generals across the country, the fees paid to the Advocate General of Goa was nothing short of a loot and plunder of the State’s exchequer.

The Government, by an order issued on 8th April 2013, hiked the fees of the Advocate General from a monthly maximum of five lakhs to a maximum of eight lakhs.

The Advocate General’s per appearance fee before the High Court has now been hiked from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per case per day. In addition the Advocate General will also be now paid Rs 75,000 per official visit to Delhi for conference or per appearance before the Supreme Court. Earlier the Advocate General was paid Rs 25,000 per appearance before the Supreme Court and was not entitled to any conference charges while in Delhi.

The Advocate General’s house rent allowance has been doubled from a monthly Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. The Advocate General is also entitled to personal staff as allowed to a Cabinet Minister. The hike in the Advocate General’s fees is retrospective with effect from 1st April last year.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his complaint has also drawn the CAG’s attention that the Goa Government has currently over 20 advocates appointed in the High Court to defend the interests of the State in addition to the Public Prosecutor and three Additional Public Prosecutors.
Pointing out that in Maharastra and Karnataka a minimum of ten years experience is required to be appointed as a Government Advocate or an Additional Government Advocate in the High Court, Adv. Rodrigues has alleged that these appointments in Goa have been made without any laid down criteria as to the minimum experience required.

Alleging that sheer government largesse and not merit had been the sole criteria in all these questionable appointments, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that this tradition of merely accommodating juniors along with near and dear ones as Government advocates at the cost of the State exchequer could not be allowed.
Adv. Rodrigues has also pointed out that in a recent report, the CAG had expressed surprise over increase in the number of Government advocates to plead state’s cases at Chandigarh-based courts while holding that appointments in the Advocate General’s office were made without assessing the quantum of work while causing huge financial loss to the state exchequer. The report had also exposed that often nearly 80 per cent Government Advocates remained without work.

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