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Corporation plans makeover for its legal cell to increase revenue

After scores of complaints related to the functioning of its legal  cell, the Kochi Corporation has proposed a new design for the wing.

Published: 06th October 2013 03:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2013 03:30 PM   |  A+A-

After scores of complaints related to the functioning of its legal  cell, the Kochi Corporation has proposed a new design for the wing. From decentralisation to appointment of a government law officer, a slew of measures have been mooted for the much-criticised legal cell. The measures, which will have to obtain the council approval prior to its   implementation, could help the Corporation win cases worth crores and reduce its fiscal constraints.

The main highlight of the new proposal is to decentralise the legal cell. At present, a centralised legal cell gives legal information to each  department. This was pointed out to have caused severe delay in file movement. In the decentralised mode, a legal officer will be deployed in every   department under the Corporation. The files of cases coming under each  department will be directly noted to the legal officer there. The proposal  also moots a legal clerk in each department.Apart from these structural changes, the Corporation also proposes to  request a law officer in deputation from the State Government to overlook its cases.

It is learnt that these decisions will be discussed in recent council meetings before implementation.“The legal matters have become a mess which has forced the Corporation to go for major changes in its legal cell. As the corporation is faced with a situation where it is financially broken, which will be further augmented if the verdict of upcoming cases come out negative for the Corporation, these reforms have become a necessary,” said a highly placed source in the Corporation.

In the two cases  related to the land acquisition of Brahmapuram plant, the Corporation had to give a compensation of` 14 crore. A flood of 165 similar cases are pending before the Court to pronounce verdict, a many of which will come out within a year. Even to stay the verdict, the Corporation has to furnish 15 per cent of the compensation amount in the courts, which itself will run into crores.With the present legal cell, the Corporation has won only sparse cases. Councillors say a huge sum can be saved if the legal cell pull up its socks and fight in courts the cases related to tax evasion alone. At present, several cases where buildings evaded tax worth crores from Corporation are pending.

There are also complaints that Corporation could not furnish documents in cases where government lawyers appeared. 



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