Kerala minister criticises Attorney General for taking up with Bar Owners’ case


Kerala minister Ramesh Chennithala has criticised the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for appearing on behalf of bar owners in a case against Kerala government.

Channithala told reporters, “The AG should have behaved sensibly. He should  withdraw his decision. The AG should never take a stance against the interests of the state. This doesn’t go well with the federal structure of our country.”

This comes after the state government had officially protested against the AG appearing for the bar owners.

A statement from chief minister’s office in July had said,  “It is indeed shocking that the Attorney General did so after obtaining permission from the Union government, hence, the prime minister has to clarify his stand on the matter.”

On Friday, the Supreme Court had rejected a submission that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appearing for a private client, Kerala Bar Hotels Association, was in violation of rules.

Now the case has become even more significance with Mukul Rohatgi, a senior most legal representative of the central government, appearing against a state government.  BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma too had expressed displeasure over the AG’s move earlier .

Meanwhile, Mukul Rohatgi has told Justice Anil R Dave and Justice R K Agarwal that he had sought consent from the state government to appear for bar owners adding that he had appeared for them even in the past.

Rohatgi had told a news channel in the past, “Four star bar owners in Kerala are my old clients. They wanted my help. Why is the government of Kerala afraid of a lawyer? If I had not appeared, some else would have appeared. There’s nothing wrong in appearing for them.”

Kerala bar owners have challenged the High Court order upholding the state government’s liquor policy. Last year, the government implemented a new policy intended to reduce liquor consumption in the state.