Bombay High Court stopped from hearing plea against law secretary

July 7th, 2009 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday stopped the Bombay High Court from hearing a lawsuit challenging the year-long extension given to union Law Secretary T.K. Vishwanathan after his retirement on Oct 31, 2008.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam stopped the high court from proceeding against Vishwanathan on an urgent lawsuit by the union government seeking transfer of the lawsuit against the law secretary to the Delhi High Court.

Appearing for the union government, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati told the bench that the Bombay High Court has entertained a lawsuit against the extension despite the matter being adjudicated by the Delhi High Court as well.

Vahanvati said the Bombay High Court entertained the new lawsuit in June this year despite the Delhi High Court adjudicating the same matter since Oct 25 last year.

The matter is listed for final hearing at the Delhi High Court on July 8 - Wednesday, Vahanvati told the court.

At this, the apex court restrained Bombay High Court from proceeding in the matter and issued notices to two Mumbai-based advocates, Kazer Abbas Kharawala and Pradip Shukla, seeking their views as to why their lawsuit against the law secretary should not be transferred to the Delhi High Court.

Vishwanathan’s tenure as union law secretary, heading the Legal Affairs Department within the law ministry, was extended by a year till Oct 31, 2009, last year by the government.

Besides, the government also gave him additional charge to head the Legislative Department within the ministry for a year owing to the vacancy there and because he is considered to be an excellent legal draftsman with expertise to draft bills of the government.

Before becoming law secretary, he had also worked as legislative department secretary for over three years.

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