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India

Punjab Advocate Gen Anmol Rattan Sidhu Quits, Cites Personal Reasons

Vinod Ghai will be the next AG of Punjab.

Punjab AG Anmol Rattan Sidhu Resigns Citing Personal Reasons, Resignation Yet To Be Accepted
Punjab AG Anmol Rattan Sidhu. (Image: ANI)

Chandigarh: Punjab Advocate General Anmol Rattan Sidhu has submitted his resignation citing personal reasons. AG Sidhu’s resignation letter was sent to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on July 19.

Following his decision to quit, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the government has appointed senior lawyer Vineet Ghai as the new Punjab Advocate General.

Sidhu’s resignation comes within four months of him taking over as the Advocate General of Punjab. He was appointed the AG on March 19, days after the AAP assumed power in Punjab.

While Sidhu has cited personal reasons, sources said that the government was not satisfied with the Advocate General’s performance. However, the opposition said that the government was being run from Delhi and there was too much intervention among the bureaucracy, including legal bureaucracy.

Akali Dal spokesperson and advocate Arshdeep Kler said, “The excise policy was made in Delhi, basically Delhi is running Punjab and I think Mr. Sidhu very gracefully by citing personal reasons which though basically are professional reasons, has saved the government from embarrassment by not pointing a finger at the government.”

Reportedly, Sidhu had sought the appointment of law officers due to the heavy workload. Out of 178 total vacancies, 78 law officers were working and the remaining positions were vacant. Sources said the interference in the appointment of the Additional Advocate Generals (AAGs) and other law officers was one of the reasons why Sidhu was miffed with the government.

Regarding these very appointments, the Punjab government had challenged an order of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes which had directed the state to provide the benefit of reservation while appointing law officers in the office of the Advocate General.  

Later, the Punjab Government withdrew its petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana high court that challenged the very orders of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) concerning the appointment of law officers.

Harjeet Grewal, the spokesperson for BJP, said that the government’s approach was a knee-jerk reaction and that AG’s hands were tied and that is the reason first they filed the case and later they withdrew it. “AG has resigned because the government let him down in this particular case and also various other issues of interference with his work,” said Grewal.

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In the past, Sidhu has been the President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association as many as eight times. He has also served as chairperson of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Additional Solicitor General of India, and Additional Advocate General for both the States of Punjab and Haryana.

Sidhu’s appointment happened after the Punjab AG’s position fell vacant following Deepinder Singh Patwalia’s resignation after the Punjab assembly poll results in March 2022.