Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Justice Nanavati’s lawyer sons on govt payroll, HC says no conflict of interests

The Gujarat High Court on Monday decided not to hear further into the allegations of conflict of interest between the state government and the Nanavati Commission on the ground that the sons of panel chairman G T Nanavati are appointed as government lawyers.
A division bench decided so after the government produced the rules for appointments of government lawyers along with the remuneration paid to them.
The court would now hear the petition further on June 28 to the extent where it has challenged the government’s move to grant nine months’ extension to the Commission since tax payers’ money is being used for the expenses.
Petitioner Jignesh Goswami has challenged the extension granted to the Commission in December last year. He has contended that such extensions cannot be allowed to be granted by the government because it is waste of public money.
During pendency of the petition, Goswami carried out amendments in which he raised the issue of conflict of interest between the government and the Commission. He had contended that G T Nanavati’s both sons — Maulik Nanavati and Dhaval Nanavati — are government lawyers. Maulik represents the government as Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) in the HC whereas Dhaval represents the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Based on this, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala had sought details of APPs from the government.
Government Pleader Prakash Jani said that following the order, they produced the rules for the appointments of APPs and pointed out that the government only suggests a name and HC is the appointing authority.
He said the government also produced details of remuneration paid to different government lawyers to indicate that no preferential treatment was being given to Nanavati’s sons. “Following this, the court decided not to hear the issue on conflict of interest,” Jani said.