Court cases against the government to be brought to single platform
On Tuesday it is being mooted as the biggest step to be ever taken by the law ministry to bring down cases across the country where the government is the opposite party. Such cases constitute at least 40 per cent of the 3.2 crore case backlog.
Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS) – an endeavour to bring court cases against the government on a single comprehensive online platform -was showcased at a two-day workshop for nodal officers of all the ministers. It was inaugurated by Law Minister Sadananda Gowda at the Indian Law Institute on Tuesday.
It is also an effort to ensure that various ministries do not adopt conflicting stands on the same issue before a court – an increasing trend these days – and to make maximum efforts to settle disputes between governments and among public sector units out of the court, which will reduce the backlog to a large extent.
LONG TIME COMING
It is to be noted that several chief justices, including R M Lodha and present incumbent T S Thakur, have been asking the Centre to take immediate steps to ensure that only minimal litigation between government departments and PSUs reach the court. They have also been calling for outof-court-settlement of disputes to reduce pendency.
“If LIMBS get completely operational and is utilised by all ministries, case disposal will improve by a 100 per cent. We shall ensure that disputes between government departments and public sector units do not reach courts at all. Government is the biggest litigant. But what about pending litigations? The only option is to help courts fasttrack them. That is where LIMBS will play an important role,” Gowda told nodal officers of most ministries, who were in attendance at the workshop.
ADVANTAGES OF LIMBS
The progress of each case -what happened on a particular date, stand adopted by the government, etc – will be available at the click of a button for the official who has registered himself with the LIMBS. Suresh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs said “Fifty per cent of the cases in which the government is a respondent are kept pending on technical grounds. On the basis of decided cases, the courts can dispose them. LIMBS will assist them with information on how past cases were decided.” “The mechanism will also help in finding out which official is responsible for the delay of a case.
Nodal officers of a particular ministry will be given more powers and at the same time will be held responsible for delay,” said Chandra. LIMBS will also help in reducing contempt cases against the government, which are large in numbers – some of them are due to delay in filing affidavits because of communication gaps, said Chandra.