HC castigates State govt. for filling unnecessary litigations leading to ‘docket explosion’

Directs govt. to effectively implement litigation policy and conduct workshops for officials on reducing litigations

November 24, 2022 08:23 pm | Updated 08:23 pm IST - Bengaluru

A view of the High Court of Karnataka.

A view of the High Court of Karnataka. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Pointing out that the State government is causing a ‘docket explosion’ in the courts with unnecessary litigations, the High Court of Karnataka has cautioned the government of imposing an exemplary cost if it failed to avoid unnecessary litigations henceforth.

The court also directed the government to effectively implement its Dispute Resolution Policy 2021 formulated by the Law Department and conduct region-wise workshops to educate officials on the policy to avoid filling of unnecessary petitions, appeals, etc.

“We feel that the time has come where this court is required to send a message to the biggest litigant [government] and that merely because it is the biggest litigant, it will not be a license to enable it in filing all and sundry cases, which eat into valuable judicial time,” a Division Bench comprising Justice G. Narendar and Justice P.N. Desai observed in its order.

The Bench also said, “The irony is that the State is one of the prime movers to popularise the alternate dispute resolution system and in this background, the State cannot be the reason for docket explosion.”

Law department’s view

The Bench also said that if the Law Department gives an opinion against preferring of a petition/an appeal/revision etc., and if the concerned department is of a different opinion, such different opinion should be recorded in writing by the Head of the Department, setting out the reason why the appeal/revision/writ petition etc., needs to be filed ignoring the opinion of the Law Department.

“In the event such petition/appeal/revision etc., is not entertained by the court then, the government should mandatorily calculate and recover the cost of that particular limb of litigation from the officers concerned,” the Bench said.

The Bench also directed the government to take steps to circulate the policy document prepared by the office of the State Advocate General to all the department while taking note of A-G Prabhuling K. Navadgi’s submission that COVID-19 impacted the circulation of policy document, which contains measures to avoid unnecessary litigations.

‘Treated like a dustbin’

“The High Court cannot be treated like a dustbin by the largest litigant and the litigant bears a responsibility towards the justice dispensation system, a responsibility which is a constitutional mandate,” the Bench observed, while dismissing a petition filed by the government challenging an order of the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal.

The tribunal had quashed disciplinary proceedings against 66-year-old Rahamathulla when he was serving as an assistant police inspector prior to his retirement. Even though the Law Department suggested against challenging the KSAT’s verdict before the High Court, the Home Department had filed the present petition, which the Bench termed “meritless.”

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