Seven years on, national litigation policy a work in progress
The policy is a set of guidelines that will reduce the burden of court cases on the exchequer – with the government being a litigant in nearly half of all pending cases in courts.Updated: Jun 28, 2017 23:43 IST
Seven years after the Congress-led UPA government created the first draft of the national litigation policy, it still remains a work in progress.
The policy is a set of guidelines that will reduce the burden of court cases on the exchequer – with the government being a litigant in nearly half of all pending cases in courts.
After the government last month approached the Law Commission of India for help in drafting the policy, the commission is learnt to have recently written to it, saying that bureaucracy within the government needs to contain its zeal for litigation to reduce the high volume of cases.
Governments in states and at the Centre are litigants in 46% of the total 3.14 crore cases in courts ranging from the districts to the Supreme Court.
The commission has pointed out that the bureaucracy over the years has failed to contain the volume of litigation originating from government ministries and departments.
“Individual officers do not want to take the decision to reduce litigation from the fear of being accused of bias or giving in to extraneous considerations. We have suggested that the decision to take the litigation route or not be taken by a panel of officers in each department,” a source in the commission said.
Sources in the law ministry said that the government has decided to completely rely on the commission’s report and restrict the ministry’s role to implementing it.
“The Law Commission has experts for the job and we have decided to rely on them. The commission’s draft will be placed before the cabinet and we will finalise the policy this year,” a top official in the ministry said.
Unable to get its act together on the issue, the ministry had referred the matter to the Law Commission, which is headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and has a former high court judge and a former law secretary among its members.