It will be implemented through three-tier system

The State government has released a new litigation policy aimed at reducing pendency of cases involving the government in courts.

The ‘Tamil Nadu State Litigation Policy 2012’ provides for reviewing existing cases and withdrawing the ones identified as frivolous and vexatious, besides formulating norms for defending cases as well as filing appeals.

The new policy is to be implemented through a three-tier system by constituting a committee at the State, department and district levels.

The State-level implementation committee (SLIC) will function under the Chief Secretary and its members are the Advocate-General, two Additional Advocates-General and the Secretaries of the Home, Finance and Law Departments and Secretary of the department concerned.

The SLIC will identify major causes of litigation and recommend suitable measures to the government to minimise it.

It will also monitor litigation process in all stages and for this purpose will introduce a comprehensive reporting and data flow system. Bi-monthly meetings will be held by the SLIC.

In similar manner, department and district level implementation committees will also function.

“To pre-empt a lot of unnecessary litigation, a grievance redress system will be set up at the department and district levels to look into the grievances of the employees and parties.”

“Quick action on legal notices or representations shall be taken and a detailed speaking order shall be passed expeditiously in accordance with the rules.”

In the case of ex parte/interim orders, the committee will take an immediate view whether it would be advantageous to get the order vacated or to file an appeal.

Every department shall have one senior administrative officer with a legal background designated as ‘Legal Nodal Officer’ to constantly monitor the proceedings of court cases and ensure that there is no delay in the conduct of cases.

The new policy said, “Action will be taken against those responsible for delay. Such action will operate as a deterrent for unsatisfactory work and malpractices in the conduct of government litigation.” The appeal would be processed duly so as to avoid violation of time limits. Welcoming the new policy, practising advocates said this would play a major role in reduction of cases against the government at different stages. They also suggested a separate department to deal the cases against the government.

Rupert J. Barnabas, an advocate, said “law officers are being appointed by the government in power. When that government goes, once again another set of law officers is appointed by new government. In such a situation, they find it very difficult to handle the cases and hence the pendency is increasing. If permanent staff is employed, there will not be any delay in disposal.”

P. Paramasivam, Bar Federation of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, appreciated the new policy initiatives and urged the government to properly implement it.

He said, “The pendency is increasing in the High Court and subordinate judiciary level. The government side is delaying to file a counter or appeal. Sometimes, it takes six months and above to do so. If the policy is properly implemented, the pendency level will substantially decrease in future.”

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