The Weekly Obiter

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE ASSISTANT GOVERNMENT PLEADER IS THAT OF A LAWYER AND CLIENT AND NOT OF MASTER AND SERVANT: SC. JULY 3, 2018

July 17, 2018

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in State Election Commissioner, Bihar Patna vs. Janakdhari Prasad, has upheld a Patna High Court judgment that had held that the engagement of an advocate as an Assistant Government Pleader is a professional engagement and the relationship between the State and that of the Assistant Government Pleader is that of a lawyer and client and not of Master and Servant. The Hon’ble Patna High Court had held, the Assistant Government Pleader is concerned, he is appointed to assist the Government Pleader and for the professional work rendered, he is paid remuneration but not paid any retainer fee. The Assistant Government Pleader is basically an Advocate on the roll of the State Bar Council and besides giving professional advice to other litigants by virtue of his/her engagement by the State Government, he/she also advises and represents the State Government in Courts of Law. The appointment of the Government Pleader is governed by the executive instruction which is a tenure appointment and he remains a legal practitioner for all purpose and intent.
The engagement of an advocate as an Assistant Government Pleader is a professional engagement and the relationship between the State and that of the Assistant Government Pleader is that of a lawyer and client and not of Master and Servant. Assistant Government Pleader is paid fees for the professional work done by him and his remuneration is not fixed in a particular timescale. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held, “Even if some remuneration is attached to the office, he cannot be treated to be under the service of the State Government. The aspects which are essential for establishing a relationship of master and servant are absent.” 

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