Sep 03, 2017

How AG’s Dept’s hands are bound Featured

There is some truth in the claim that court cases get delayed due to the fault of the Attorney General’s Department, but a main reason for that is the shortage of human resources in that department.

Information obtained through Dept. sources note that there had been an attempt to sabotage its functions.

By now, more than 40,000 civil and criminal cases, 23,000 criminal cases among them, have been referred to the Dept. for advice.

Of them, there are only 84 so-called political cases.

189 state counsels for 21 m population

Singapore, which has a population of nearly eight million, has 500 state counsels attached to its AG’s Dept., but Sri Lanka’s AG’s Dept. has only 189 state counsels to serve a population of 21 million.

Permission has been sought from the Public Services Commission to recruit 30 junior state counsels to fill this shortage, but the PSC is yet to give its consent.

Senior officials of the Dept. say they need at least 100 more lawyers.

No solution yet for meagre salary

The starting salary of a lawyer at the Dept. is only Rs. 30,000, and junior lawyers are reluctant to join the Dept., note its senior lawyers.

They have been asking a solution for this salary issue since 2013, but to no avail.

According to a gazette issued in 1802, lawyers in the Dept. could be graded as legal officers, but that is yet to be done either.

Cabinet approval was given in December 2016 for a special grade for the Dept.’s lawyers, although it is yet to be enforced.

Furthermore, state counsels are not provided adequate allowances for travelling and other expenses when on outstation duty, causing dejection among them.