NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Law and Justice has directed all departments and ministries to give their briefings in a case to only one government lawyer and not multiple advocates, so that the stand of advocates remain uniform, not contradictory.
In a meeting held last week, Law Secretary Suresh Chandra said, “Now, in one case, multiple government advocates will not be involved as this will not only reduce wastage of money and the stand of advocates will be uniform, not contradictory.”
The Law Ministry has also submitted a proposal to the Cabinet for creation of an ‘integrated legal division’ (ILD) in all Central Ministries to ensure that legal advice on complex issues is not delayed and courts are only approached as a last resort and cases with lean chances of winning are not pursued.
The move will ensure that legal advice required by various Ministries is not delayed as the presence of Law Ministry officials in Ministries would cut short the red tape.
The officials would report to their unit or group heads in the Law Ministry who would also help them resolve complicated legal issues.
“The cases which have very less chance of winning need not be pursued further. The pendency of cases in courts, besides being a burden upon the public exchequer, also diverts attention of government from meaningful governance,” the official added.
Government litigation includes service matters, disputes with private entities as well as inter-se disputes between two government departments and disputes between two PSUs.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had termed the government as the biggest litigant, saying there was a need to lessen the load on the judiciary which spent its maximum time in tackling cases where the government was a party and had said the load on the judiciary could be reduced if cases were filed after taking a considered view.
Department Number of Cases Number of Cases
|Department||Number of Cases|
DRailwaysRailways R6,68566,685 RFinanceFinance F5,64615,646 FCommunicationsCommunications C2,62112,621 CHome AffairsHome Affairs H1,60011,600 HDefenceDefence D4333433 D