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Govt frowns at frequent adjournments; to tighten legal team

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Unhappy with the way its cases are handled in courts, government has decided to spruce up the working of its legal team with a focus on those who seek frequent adjournments and "slipshod and loose" draftings while filing appeals.

"Accepting that frequent adjournments are resorted to by government lawyers, unnecessary and frequent adjournments will be frowned upon and infractions dealt with seriously," the draft National Litigation Policy states.

In the recent past, government had to face the ire of courts as its legal team was found to be lacking in its preparations.

The policy, which is not yet finalised and under review, was part of the agenda at the 4th meeting of Advisory Council on National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms held recently. The meeting was chaired by Law Minister Kapil Sibal.

All states have framed and notified their respective litigation policies to reduce government litigation in courts and tribunals.

According to the draft, cases in which costs are imposed against the government as a condition to grant adjournment, will be taken "very seriously."

"In all such cases, the head of department must give a report to the Empowered Committee of the reasons why such costs were awarded. The names of the persons responsible for the default entailing the imposition of costs will be identified. Suitable action must be taken against them," the proposed policy says.

It seeks to set up Empowered Committees to monitor its implementation and accountability.

The Empowered Committee at the national level will be chaired by the Attorney General.

There will be four Regional Empowered Committees to be chaired by an Additional Solicitor General nominated by the Law Ministry. The Regional Committees will submit monthly reports to the National Empowered Committee.

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First Published: Sun, July 07 2013. 10:30 IST