Govt lays down guidelines for monitoring litigation

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For ensuring proper and effective monitoring of the litigation, the Department of Law has laid down various guidelines.

According to the guidelines, Director Litigation Kashmir/Jammu on receipt of copy of writ petitions and other connected papers shall preferably within a period of 5 days forward and deliver the same against proper receipt to all the official respondents/departments. “They shall engage the Law Officer of the main contesting department in the writ petition as per allocation made by the Department of Law with an intimation to the concerned department as well against proper receipt.”

The guidelines indicate that all concerned Law Officers on receipt of the copy of the writ petition shall simultaneously prepare para-wise reply which will be forwarded to the Government Counsels in a time bound manner so as to enable them to prepare reply/objections in accordance with the rules.

While the Guidelines indicate that it shall be the responsibility of the law officer posted in the department to give complete brief to the government counsels for preparation of objections/reply, they said thereafter may return the same to the concerned department for finalization/vetting.

The Law Officer posted in the department, the guidelines say, shall ensure that the legal defense available to the Government is properly reflected in the reply/objections and shall return the same to the Government counsel duly sealed and signed by the competent/authorized officer for filing before the Court. “The whole exercise should be done in a time bound manner and should not take more than 30 days, unless there is court direction for filing of response before the said period.”

The guidelines reveal that the Government Counsels shall invariably prepare pleadings/ reply/ objections/LPAs etc. in each and every case on its own, so as to make them understand what is to be argued when a case will come up for hearing.

“As far as practicable, the consolidated reply after receiving inputs from all concerned shall be filed by the main contesting department on behalf of all the official respondents.”

While the guidelines underline that the Government Counsels shall cause their appearance before the Court/Tribunal in each and on every date of hearing, they say the counsels shall not resort to unnecessary adjournments. “Failure on their part to make proper and effective representation on behalf of the Government shall entail action against them.”

In contempt cases, the Guidelines say, the Counsels/   Director Litigation Kashmir/Jammu, on request from the department(s) shall obtain copies of contempt petitions from the Court and shall forward the same to the concerned department for immediate filing  of statement of fact(s)/compliance report(s).

“The Law Officers posted in the departments shall also of their own take all the requisite steps for defending of contempt petition, after the receipt of contempt notices from the court and shall provide all the necessary assistance/ inputs to the Counsel (s) representing their departments for preparation of Statement of facts /compliance reports and shall be responsible for filing of the same in consultation with the Counsels within a period of 15 days from the receipt of notice or as may be directed by the Court.”

In cases where counter affidavit/rejoinder are required to be filed, the guidelines say, the same shall be filed within the time frame as granted by the Court. “The Law Officers /Government Counsels shall avoid seeking time for filing of the same  and further time can only be sought in exceptional circumstances.”

“On date of receipt of the order/judgment, same shall be forwarded to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and to the concerned department, specifically indicating therein date of application for certified copy and the date of receipt of judgment, along with his concrete opinion on merits of the case, as to whether the case is fit for filing of appeal or not”.

“In both cases, that is filing of appeal or implementation of the judgment, reasons should be clearly recorded by the Government counsel.”