Government responsible for 46% of pending cases: This is how the Centre plans to tackle

Published on 16 Jun 2017 by Team

The Law Ministry’s Department of Justice discussed ways by which pendency of cases can be reduced in a meeting held on Monday.

During the course of the meeting, a number of interesting facts and figures were revealed. For starters, the government admitted that the Centre and the states were responsible for over 46% of the 3 plus crore cases pending across courts in the country.

The central government alone is a party in 1,35,060 cases, as per statistics provided by the Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS). The LIMBS website was launched last year with a view to helping government departments keep a track of the pending cases they are involved in.

The Ministry of Railways is the major defaulter, with 66,685 pending cases, of which 10,464 are over ten years old.

Here is a table of the ten government ministries with the most pending cases:

MinistryTotal CasesContempt Cases
Home Affairs11,60068
Health & Family Welfare3,2752
Urban Development2,3064
Labour & Employment1,7740
Environment, Forests & Climate Change1,7141
Commerce & Industry1,4300

Moreover, the document provides a table of cases pending from each government department, with an indication how long they have been pending. Here are the seven ministries/departments with the most pending cases, for which information was available:

Dept/Min>10 years5-10 years3-5 years1-3 years<1 year
Urban Development220431411112797
Skill Dev & Entrepreneurship00075742
Women & Child Dev2910511828063
Social Justice & Empowerment21515912736
Water Resources1944559516

A number of steps taken in order to curb pendency are enumerated. These include the appointment of a nodal officer in each department to keep a track of disputes in which the department is involved, avoiding filing appeals except in cases which involve a substantial policy matter, and withdrawal of vexatious litigation.

The Centre has also focussed on promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution, albeit not for the first time.

Quite interestingly, it has floated the idea of introducing online mediation on the lines of the Online Consumer Mediation Centre at NLSIU, Bangalore. The law school had received a grant of Rs 1 crore from the Consumer Affairs Ministry to set up the online platform.

And now, the Centre wants to replicate the same. In case of government-related disputes, complainants will be able to file their grievances online. Once the complaint is registered, it will be forwarded to the appropriate department, the nodal officer of which will initiate the mediation process. If no settlement is arrived at within 30 days, the matter will be sent for arbitration.

The Centre also revealed that the National Litigation Policy was going to be released soon.

The Department of Justice has in the past couple of years tried to keep a tab on pending cases through the introduction of National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) and LIMBS. However, ascertaining the data is only the first step; it remains to be seen as to whether government departments – both central and state – can desist from resorting to litigation at the drop of a hat.

News Source- Bar & Bench

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