Govt plans to attach law officers in ministries to reduce litigation

New Delhi: In a bid to shed the tag of being the biggest litigant, the government has decided to attach law officers to various central ministries to ensure that courts are only approached as a last resort and cases where chances of winning are lean are not pursued.

.Union Law Minister D V  Sadananda Gowda
.Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda

The Narendra Modi government, which is reviewing the 2010 National Litigation Policy of the previous UPA dispensation, has proposed to attach law officer to each central department to “take a holistic view of litigation” while filing new cases or defending the pending cases.

The philosophy behind the new policy is to approach courts once the government department is fully satisfied that litigation is the only resort left.

The cases which have lean chance of winning by the government will not be pursued further. Majority of the cases in which government is party relate to service disputes and indirect taxes.

The pendency of cases in courts besides being burden upon public exchequer also diverts attention of government from meaningful governance, the draft policy states.

Though there are no official figures available as of now, Law Ministry believes that government is a litigant in 46 per cent of the cases in higher judiciary. As in 2010, 57,179 cases were pending in the Supreme Court and 42,17,903 were pending in the 24 high courts at the end of 2011.