Proper monitoring of litigations


Litigations by and against the Government Departments and the administration pending in courts appear to be no body’s baby in the sense that absence of due pains and follow up as also inadequate monitoring is causing, many a time, lot of problems for and embarrassment to the Government. Why should avoidable adjournments be sought , one after the other, citing flimsy grounds in order to have such cases protracted adding into the already pendency of court cases. Over such a prevailing scenario, not in isolated instances but as a generalised approach towards such court cases, even the High Court has taken serious view on many occasions to the extent of even reprimanding the UT Government of Jammu and Kashmir. The Government has, therefore, come out with a strategy to deal with such a scenario emanating purely from having a reckless approach from the Law Officers towards such court cases not reaching the desired ends . Now that detailed guidelines have been issued by the Government in respect of proper monitoring and following up of litigations and to avoid such situations in future which could be perilous to the interests of the Government that the Government departments generally face in the courts , the same needs to be meticulously supervised and proper action taken including relieving such Law Officers of attending such cases and with other actions, if intentional laxity was proved . Earlier also, to salvage such position , guidelines were issued to the attending Law Officers who otherwise were paid from the public exchequer for monitoring such cases on hearing to hearing basis and not cause unnecessary delays under the alibi of collecting papers, documents and even arrange presence of witnesses. At the outset, attaching with the guidelines actionfor non compliance , to recording adverse remarks in the Annual Performance Reports (APRs) seems plausible. Why should,

with a good number of attending Law Officers, litigations in courts not be streamlined and unspecific delays be caused in filing replies, counter affidavits, statements and other documents to the detriment of the fate of such cases . This scenario being there even though there have been circulars and reminders to that effect from the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Only in the month of August this year, a detailed circular has been issued pursuant to the recommendations of the committee constituted by the General Administration Department. The stress via this circular was laid on following meticulously Standard Operating Procedures and adopt and adhere to the necessary measures with intent to bring about the process of revamping and improving the prevailing mechanism which , by all means , could be under rated and said to be far from satisfactory. Despite this circular which should have resulted in a lot of improvement in the situation, the courts have been passing strictures and adverse remarks against the Government. In other words, if it is construed that there was flagrant but wilful non compliance , it would be no exaggeration which needs to be taken not lightly. In fact, periodic report on case to case basis related to each hearing as to what best was done by the attending Govt counsels in each hearing to enable reach cases to their logical ends , must be obtained to scrutinize both the developments as well as provide opportunity to record the same in the concerned APRs. What the court has observed needs to be taken note of to bring about desired overall improvement as it has been found that there was no coordination between different departments so far as filing of appeals was concerned and the worst still, that how to deal with a particular litigation , “there was no system in place in various departments “. Contempt petitions even face the same lukewarm and indifferent approach from those who were entrusted to deal with them to protect the interests of the Government .In other words , it means no accountability and no responsibility which must be ensured to be fixed very resolutely to bring about the desired results