NGT ban: Lawyers minting money

Advocate Pinaki  Misra charges Rs 7 lakh per appearance

SHILLONG: A galaxy of lawyers dealing with the NGT case on coal mining, are paid heavily by both the individual mine owners and State Government and the amount will come to several crores of rupees.
More than 35 lawyers engaged by various defendants to attend the hearing on NGT ban on rate hole mining have made it the costliest hearing in terms of fees paid to the lawyers.
Moreover, this  may be the first of its kind in Meghalaya in terms of more than 35 defendants coming together along with their lawyers to deal with a single case.
While many sittings were held in Shillong, a few sittings took place in Delhi.
“I have paid my lawyer Rs 2 lakh for a single sitting in the NGT case”, Independent legislator Justine Dkhar said explaining about the difficulty in arranging the lawyers to defend the case.
He said the due to the large number of defendants, the last hearing held on January 29  finished only at 5. 30 pm after it began in the morning.
A state government official said that the Meghalaya Government has already spent several lakhs  of rupees for assigning lawyers for the case.
The fee for a single sitting charged by senior advocate Pinaki  Misra from Delhi engaged by the Government  is Rs 7 lakh.  He attended four sittings and the expenditure incurred by the state government is Rs 28 lakh.
If the hearing is held in Delhi , the amount for Misra is Rs 3.5 lakh and the same amount is charged when the hearing is held in Shillong.
The fee charged by Delhi based Advocate  Ranjan Mukherjee, the Government counsel is Rs 30,000 per sitting.
It was on April 17 last that the NGT in an interim order banned coal mining and with the next hearing slated for April 16, the ban will complete a year.  Several sittings were held  after the ban costing the mine owners and the Government   dearly.

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