The Allahabad High Court has recently reprimanded the standing counsels appearing for the State in a matter, for failing to assist the Court on legal points despite seeking time repeatedly and after the Court granted several opportunities.

The Court further observed that the persistent warnings given in the past week fell on deaf ears.

The Court sought a response from the Principal Secretary (Law & Remembrancer) and the Advocate General (AG) within three days, and their views as to how the issue of non-assistance by the Standing counsel is sought to be addressed. The Court directed that the affidavit be placed before it on the next hearing i.e. January 24, 2024, failing which the Court would be compelled to summon the Secretary and the AG.

A bench of Justice Abdul Moin of the Lucknow Bench observed, “This Court has repeatedly been observing that despite various opportunities having been given to the learned Standing counsel to address the Court on the legal points the learned Standing counsels have miserably failed to assist the Court on the legal points as are urged. This aspect of the matter cannot be ignored by this Court more particularly when repeatedly time has been granted to the learned Standing counsel to pull up their socks and address the Court on the legal point as are repeatedly being urged by the counsel who appear on behalf of the petitioner. This Court is constrained and pained to observe that no assistance is rendered by the learned Standing counsels”.

Advocate Mukesh Mohan Sharma, Standing Counsel appeared for the petitioner, Advocate Arvind Kumar Shukla, Standing counsel appeared for the respondents no. 1 to 7.

The matter before the Court pertained to an order passed by the prescribed authority under Section 12-C of the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1947 in an election petition which was under challenge.

In the impugned order, while disposing of the election petition, the prescribed authority had directed for the recounting of the votes to be held on January 8, 2024.

The petitioner had argued that the Court has held that after deciding of the election petition, the prescribed authority becomes functus officio and no further orders can be passed on the election petition which has been finally decided. Therefore, the order directing recounting of votes should be held as beyond the power as given to the prescribed authority under the provisions of the Act, 1947.

However, the respondents argued that the petitioner had a statutory remedy of filing of a revision under Section 12-C (6) of the Act, 1947 before the learned District Judge and therefore, the instant petition was not maintainable.

The bench resultantly, stayed the operation of the impugned order.

The bench, however, noted that the Standing counsel initially had sought time to seek instructions on the legal point or for having the case passed over. Further, it observed that the petition itself was filed on January 5, 2024 and it was for the Standing counsel to have studied the matter and to have addressed the Court on the legal point as was urged.

Cause Title: Mangala v. State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Panchayat Raj, Lucknow And Others

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