New Delhi: The government Wednesday unveiled a
National Litigation Policy that would dictate how it would
reduce the burgeoning number of its court cases and act as "an
efficient and a responsible" litigant.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily released the policy
documents here and said the government had recognised the fact
that it and its various agencies were predominant litigants in
courts and tribunals across the country.
Of the over two crore cases pending in courts, 70 per cent
of them involved the government as either petitioners or
"Its (the policy`s) aim is to transform government into an
efficient and a responsible litigant," Moily told a press
conference here. The policy would be implemented from the
beginning of next month and comes within a year of its
national consultation for reducing pendency and delays in
court cases in October last year.
Noting that the policy took into account the
responsibility of the government to protect the rights of
citizens and to respect fundamental rights, the Law Minister
said those in-charge of the conduct of official litigation
should never forget this basic principle.
He said under the new litigation policy the government
would cease to be "a compulsive" litigant and expressed the
hope that the state governments too would follow the centre`s
example and would come up with their own policy of this sort
to reduce the number of cases pending in courts.
"The National Litigation Policy is framed with a view to
ensure conduct of responsible litigation by the Central
government and urges every state government to evolve similar
policies," the document said.
"The philosophy that `matters should be left to the courts
for ultimate decision` has to be discarded. The easy approach
`let the court decide` must be eschewed and condemned," it
The government would appoint empowered committees, to be
chaired at the national level by the Attorney General, to
monitor implementation of the policy and to fix accountability
of the government departments to follow the principles laid
down by the policy.
Moily said the government lawyers would avoid seeking
adjournments, except in the initial stages of the case when
responses from the government departments were required on
"Unnecessary and frequent adjournments by government
lawyers will be frowned upon and infractions dealt with
seriously," he added.