Law Minister’s repeated directions fail to jolt deptts out of slumber

*Stay orders on development projects remain intact

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Sept 12: Majority of the Government departments have remained insensitive towards huge number of cases pending in various courts for considerable period of time especially those in which interim directions have impacted developmental activities and caused huge financial implications for the State.
This can be gauged from the fate of the numerous directions issued by the Minister for Law, Abdul Haq Khan and repeated communications sent by the Department of Law to those at the helm of affairs in other departments particularly Public Works, Power Develop-ment, Education and Health.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that during the past several months Law Minister as well as Law Secretary have been repeatedly asking the departments for rigorous follow-up of all the cases pending in various courts for considerable period of time, identification of those cases in which interim directions have impacted developmental activities and ensuring proper coordination with the Law Department by furnishing lists of such cases so as to ensure their timely disposal.
“However, all the directions and official communiqués have failed to jolt majority of the departments out of deep slumber and there is no improvement as far as disposal of pending cases is concerned”, they said, adding “what to talk of furnishing lists of pending cases to the Department of Law for prioritization from disposal point of view, the heads of majority of the departments are not even aware of volume of such cases”.
Most astonishing aspect is that even the directions passed by the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti in a meeting of Administrative Secretaries, District Development Comm-issioners and Heads of the Department on June 15, 2016 about special emphasis on pending cases of departments especially Public Works, Education, Health and Power have not been taken seriously by majority of the departments, sources regretted.
The Chief Minister had asked for furnishing of district level and department level consolidated list of all the cases related to the developmental works before the courts to the Department of Law but the latter is still clamoring for submission of information, they said, adding “in the absence of such a list the Law Department is finding it difficult to monitor the progress in the cases”.
According to the sources, during the introductory meeting with Law Officers from various departments held on April 12 this year, the Law and Justice Minister, Abdul Haq Khan had stressed on identification of important cases for proper monitoring by the Department of Law. His area of concern was those cases having huge financial implications and which are required to be pursued vigorously to avoid unnecessary burden on exchequer.
Again on May 18 this year, the Law Minister while chairing meeting of Administrative Secretaries of various departments to review the status of cases, laid stress on regular monitoring the progress of pending cases and furnishing of details to the Law Department for necessary action at the latter’s end.
In yet another meeting convened on August 12, Haq Khan issued directions for identification of cases that have poor future and can be dropped immediately and focusing on filing replies by the departments in the courts in time bound manner so that passing of adverse orders against the Government is avoided.
While stating that onus was lying on Law Officers to guide the Government as well as the concerned departments about the prospect of each case, the Law Minister had asked for proper coordination of all the departments with the Law Department so as to pave the way for timely disposal of cases by vigorously following the same in the courts.
These directions were once again reiterated by the Law Minister in a meeting held on September 10 and by the Law Secretary on August 31 but majority of the departments have not taken steps pointed out from time to time for expeditious disposal of pending court cases by ensuring rigorous follow-up, sources regretted.
They disclosed that stay orders in respect of developmental projects, which were passed several months back, are yet to be vacated by the courts in the absence of proper replies and information from the concerned departments. “Moreover, speedy adjudication of cases pertaining to the service matters including transfers, postings, appointments, ReT and contempt cases also remains a distant dream”, sources added.
According to the sources, even filing of timely objections in numerous important cases is not being ensured by the concerned departments thereby indicating the level of non-seriousness towards the pending cases.

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