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State is expected to a responsible litigant: CIC

Expecting the government to be a "responsible litigant" and not treat a citizen as opposite party or its rival, the CIC on Tuesday questioned whether the Centre has any mechanism to examine each case before appealing against judgements given in favour of a citizen.



New Delhi: Expecting the government to be a "responsible litigant" and not treat a citizen as opposite party or its rival, the CIC on Tuesday questioned whether the Centre has any mechanism to examine each case before appealing against judgements given in favour of a citizen.

Underlining that the State has become biggest litigant over a period of time, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu directed the Law Ministry to prepare a comprehensive note on status of implementation of National Litigation Policy 2010 and make it public.

"The Commission is of view that the Union Government has rightly addressed a vital aspect of the issue, ie that the State itself became a biggest litigant, either fighting a citizen or its own department or taking every case into appeal instead of performing the duty of addressing development and welfare of the people, who challenged its actions," he said.

Hearing an appeal on the disclosure of the policy, Acharyulu directed the ministry to provide the RTI applicant the certified copies of the relevant papers regarding progress of its implementation and also periodical updating of this note after collecting necessary inputs from the states.

"While it is ideal that every litigant should be responsible, State is also expected to be a 'responsible litigant', which means, 'that litigation will not be resorted to for the sake of litigating, that false pleas and technical points will not be taken and shall be discouraged, ensuring that the correct facts and all relevant documents will be placed before the court, and that nothing will be suppressed from the court and there will be no attempt to mislead any court or tribunal'," Acharyulu said in his order.

"The Commission finds a huge public interest in this RTI application, which should have been properly responded," he said as he stressed that the application was an opportunity for the ministry to explain the people about their efforts to reduce litigation and report the progress.

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