Kochi | Congress MP K C Venugopal today slammed the Centre for allowing Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to defend bar owners in a case opposing the liquor policy of Kerala government in the Supreme Court.
The Alappuzha MP has shot off a letter to Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda urging him to prevent the appearance of Union government’s senior-most lawyer in the case defending bar owners. Although the law allows law officers, including Attorney General and Solicitor-General, for taking up private cases in ‘compelling situations’, the present appearance of the Attorney General would send a wrong message, said Venugopal.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi protesting Rohatgi’s appearance in the Supreme Court on behalf of the bar owners opposing state’s policy which aims to bring down liquor consumption. He said the AG appeared in the apex court in bar owners’ appeal against the Kerala High Court verdict which upheld the liquor policy of the state government.
Instead of supporting the much awaited liquor policy of the state, the central government is taking an unprecedented move by allowing AG to defend against the policy of the state. … I request you kindly take the matter seriously and ensure to prevent the appearance of AG in further hearings of the case, the MP said. The former Union Minister said it is a matter of high concern to the state of Kerala’ as the senior-most lawyer of the Centre appears for petitioners to challenge the policy of a state.
The claim of the Attorney General that he has obtained permission from the central government is a matter of serious concern since it challenges in principle the policy of the state, said Venugopal in his letter.
He said the AG appeared in the court questioning the conditions set by the Kerala government in its liquor policy which was intended to reduce liquor consumption in the state. Describing the liquor policy of Kerala as revolutionary, Venugopal said it was supported and praised by different legislators and stakeholders, despite their political differences.
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