Insight Online News
Kolkata, Sep 1 : West Bengal government, which is already facing a contempt of court litigation for not clearing the dearness allowance arrears of the state government employees within the deadline set by the court, now faces the wrath of the judiciary for not paying the appearance fee dues to a leading public prosecutor.
Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya has directed the state government to clear a portion of the appearance fee due amounting to Rs 14.50 lakhs to leading public prosecutor of the state, Manjit Singh. The matter will be heard again after two weeks on how the state government will clear the remaining dues.
Justice Bhattacharya also observed that it is the moral duty of the government to clear the appearance fees of the public prosecutor who appeared on behalf of the state government in various cases.
Manjit Singh was appointed as the public prosecutor in 2013 and till 2017 he appeared for the state government in a number of important cases. He claimed that the state started defaulting in payment of appearance fee almost since the beginning of his tenure as the public prosecutor.
According to him, the total dues accumulated to Rs 55 lakhs by 2017 and thereafter, he stopped taking briefs of the state government.
However, Singh did not approach the court immediately as he wanted to get his dues cleared through communication with the departments concerned. He wrote letters to the state law and finance departments with the plea for clearing his dues. Unable to evoke any positive response, he even forwarded a letter on this count to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Finally, he approached the Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Justice Bhattacharya seeking the court’s direction to the state government to get his dues cleared.
Despite repeated attempts, state law minister Malaya Ghatak could not be contacted for his comments in the matter. State BJP spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said that while the state government is running out of funds to pay legitimate dues either to the state government employees or even to the public prosecutor, it is spending crores of rupees on festivals.
IANS / AGENCY