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BMC ties up with consultant to reduce its legal troubles

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Non-profit organisation to help tackle pending court cases, unnecessary legislation

To bring down the number of its pending court cases and reduce litigation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will appoint a consultant to prevent unnecessary litigation through out-of-court settlement or arbitration.

The civic body has around 70,000 pending cases across various courts.

Last year, after the BMC lost a 13,000 sq.m. plot in Jogeshwari in court as its reservation had lapsed, it set up a committee headed by the then deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhari to suggest reforms in the civic legal department. The committee pointed out flaws in the functioning of the legal and development planning departments and recommended short-term and long-term measures. It suggested setting up four supervision committees, including one to periodically review the pending cases.

IAS officer and newly-appointed joint municipal commissioner Ashutosh Salil has now tied up with a non-profit organisation called Daksh, a Bengaluru-based legal think tank working on judicial reforms. Daksh is also working with the State government on similar lines.

“We want to reduce the number of pending cases involving the BMC and ensure we prevent litigation that is only going to go against us. We will do this based on precedents and patterns of the court. In such cases, we will try to settle out of court or appoint an arbitrator. This will help us give preference to the really important ones,” an officer, who did not wish to be named, said.

Analysing patterns

The firm will analyse the pending cases to look for a pattern — such as common subjects or parties — and suggest reforms. It will also recommend changes in terms of new litigation.

Surya Prakash B.S., programme director, Daksh, said, “We will help BMC analyse their workload. In terms of pending cases, we will check why and for how long cases have been stuck, and what they pertain to. The idea is to check how BMC can manage its litigation more efficiently so that services can be delivered sooner. There are cases which have high impact value or cases that are stuck for simple reasons. Then we will suggest what reforms to undertake. Workflow can be designed accordingly. Plus, we will suggest certain measures to ensure unnecessary litigation is prevented.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:14:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bmc-ties-up-with-consultant-to-reduce-its-legal-troubles/article28764185.ece

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