Government wants future laws to have mechanism to reduce litigation
The legislations must also include ways of settling disputes before they reach courts, it has said.Updated: Sep 24, 2017 13:01 IST
To reduce the mounting number of cases pending in Indian courts, the Union law ministry has proposed a sweeping change to all future laws and amendments: it wants ministries to incorporate mechanisms to reduce litigation within all proposed laws.
The new legislations must also include ways of settling disputes before they reach courts, it has said.
“Countries like the US have provision for pre-litigation meeting before a dispute reaches court. This saves both time and costs,” a top functionary of the law ministry told HT.
Laws are drafted by different ministries, vetted by the law ministry and the drafts discussed in the cabinet before they are brought to Parliament to be passed by both Houses.
In a note sent to cabinet secretary PK Sinha earlier this month, the ministry has asked that all ministries while drafting new laws or amendments to existing ones must introduce a “litigation potential clause” in the proposed legislation.
“This will help the government assess if a proposed legislation is going to lead to an increase in litigation and check that problem at the inception stage,” a senior official in the law ministry told HT. “Laws are sometimes drafted to correct an anomaly but a poorly drafted clause in the law can lead to a string of litigation.”
The ministry wants draft laws to not just anticipate the volume of possible litigation that might arise out of the new law but even incorporate the measures to resolve such litigation.
“It would be apt that the piece of legislation which would eventually form part of the legal framework of the country itself contains the mechanism for early resolution of disputes (using ADR or other mechanisms),” the note, sent by the minister of state for law PP Chaudhary to Sinha, reads.
ADR or alternative dispute resolution includes resolving disputes through arbitration and mediation.
The proposal is the outcome of a high-level brainstorming session in the ministry’s department of justice on July 27. The session which included ministers and secretaries was held to come up with ways to help the government reduce litigation, the official said.
“At present, there are more than 3.28 crore cases pending in the courts,” the official said.
In March this year, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written to his cabinet colleagues and all chief ministers asking them to ensure “litigation is the last resort” for government departments. The government is party to nearly half of all cases pending in court.
First Published: Sep 24, 2017 08:55 IST