oppn parties Government Not Serious About Court Cases

News Snippets

  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Government Not Serious About Court Cases

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court rightly castigated the government for its non-seriousness in pursuing legal cases in courts. Despite having a huge legal machinery at its disposal, the government lets cases linger. This happens only because those responsible for briefing the lawyers are either not inclined to find time for such mundane things or have been compromised by the opposing parties. If one examines the data, one will find that this is one of the major causes of the clogging of the judicial system in India.

The court also took umbrage at junior officials of ministries filing affidavits in crucial matters. The court pointedly asked the additional solicitor general “what is the status of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the bureaucracy? In your opinion, who should be the officer in all-India services filing reply affidavits?” When the government did not respond in the given time of an hour, the court proceeded to pass the caveat that from now on, all reply affidavits filed in the Supreme Court must be approved by the department and signed by the joint secretary of the concerned department. This places accountability on the head of the department which was missing.

The court’s strict stand is welcome. The government has been very casual in its approach towards court cases. There seems to be no system in place in various departments as to who is going to handle court cases, how and in what time frame. There is no transparency in such matters. It seems that senior officers generally delegate such work to their juniors with instructions to play for time. This prolongs matters and is not advisable.

The government should look into the matter and take a clear policy stand on this. Heads of departments must be made accountable. They must be given time frames within which briefs should be given to lawyers. They must ensure that lawyers go to court well prepared on the dates of hearing. In short, all efforts must be undertaken to ensure that cases do not linger due to the fault of the government.

Governance does not only mean implementing policies. It also means settling disputes that may arise on account of grievances against such policies. After all, although the legislature makes the laws, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that they are enforced. By not being serious in handling court cases, the government shows scant respect for due process of law and encourages disrespect for law in the bureaucracy. Strong steps must be taken to reverse this state of affairs.