“At the time of Sunil Saraogi’s appointment as OSD to the Chief Minister, the government might not have been aware that he was a practicing lawyer registered with the Bar Council of West Bengal” Additional Advocate General
Sikkim High Court held a hearing on May 18 regarding a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the appointment of Sunil Saraogi as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister of Sikkim under the government of Sikkim. The petition, filed by Jit Bahadhur Subba, raised concerns about Saraogi’s appointment, as he was practicing as an advocate registered with the Bar Council of West Bengal at the time of his appointment. The petitioner contended that Saraogi should not have been engaged as OSD to the Sikkim Chief Minister.
The petitioner further contended that, Saraogi was also appointed as the Executive Chairman and Director of Teesta Urja Ltd, a public company substantially owned by the Government of Sikkim and further the petitioner claimed the appointment to be contrary to the provisions stated in the Sikkim State Public Services Act, 2006.
Sikkim High Court on May 18, hearing on the case observed that, “After hearing the parties and considering the issue involved in the Instant Public Interest Litigation, we are of the view that there are primarily two aspects involved: one is the aspect of legality, and the other is propriety. Prima facie, it appears that on both counts, the private respondent is suspect.”
The court also mentioned that before reaching a final decision, it would provide an opportunity to the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits within a fortnight from the date. Any replies to the counter-affidavits should be filed within a week thereafter. The court clarified that the pendency of the matter before the court would not affect the ongoing proceedings.
During the hearing, the state government, represented by the Additional Advocate General, stated that at the time of Sunil Saraogi’s appointment as OSD to the Chief Minister, the government might not have been aware that he was a practicing lawyer registered with the Bar Council of West Bengal.
Additionally, a Senior Advocate representing the Bar Council of India informed the court that they have already taken steps against Sunil Saraogi, and an order has been issued against him.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 8, 2023, at the Sikkim High Court.