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Need system to stop frivolous cases involving government departments: Delhi High Court

Need system to stop frivolous cases involving government departments: Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Nov 14: The Delhi High Court while hearing a bunch of pleas arising from orders passed by the Railway Claims Tribunal as well as the trial court about a property dispute involving the Cement Corporation of India Limited, a public service undertaking has called for a system to prevent unnecessary and frivolous litigations involving government departments.

It has urged the central government to implement the National Litigation Policy and conduct an audit of the decision-making process.

The court criticized the absence of a litigation strategy and expressed concern over the lack of accountability among government officers & emphasized that effective governance requires a cultural shift within institutions, not just formalized guidelines.

More than a decade has passed since the discussion on the issue of a litigation policy commenced. It is unclear when the proposed framework or guidelines will be in place," said the bench.

The policy was formulated by the Union ministry of law and justice to deal with the issue of frivolous litigation involving central and state governments as well as PSUs, but it has not been implemented yet.

The court further said the policy should articulate the parameters to initiate or contest legal actions on behalf of the government, which should also set forth mechanisms to hold officers accountable for their decisions.

The bench acknowledged that it cannot venture into the policy domain and create such a policy via judicial guidelines. It is our solemn duty to impress upon the Union of India the critical need to act decisively," it remarked.

The court pointed out that there appears to be a "troubling ethos" and belief among government officers that false claims can be advanced with impunity. The officials responsible for raising these frivolous claims often escape without any consequences," it said.

The bench, taking note that said the Union minister of law and justice has indicated that guidelines and policies are under preparation, said the government need not wait for formal documentation to instill an ethos of accountability and reduce unnecessary litigation.


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