Centre informs Delhi High Court: Drafting of NLP is underway

Sreya Kanugula

The Centre informed the High Court of Delhi on January 13th, 2021, that the drafting process of the revised version of the National Litigation Policy (NLP) is ongoing.

The policy’s initial formulation by the Law and Justice Ministry was to bring down the government agencies’ litigation by pushing them to be more responsible while filing their cases.

This matter was adjourned till 12th February by the division bench comprising Justices DN Patel and Jyoti Singh upon being informed of the policy’s revision by the counsel who appeared in place of Chetan Sharma, the Additional Solicitor General.

The mentioned court was hearing a plea for asking the Court to give directions to the Centre through the department of legal affairs’ law secretary, in order to carry out the NLP enforced from 23rd June 2010 in a uniform manner.

The plea asked for the policy to be carried out along with any subsequent progressive changes brought to it among all the departments, PSUs, ministries, and any other apparatus underneath the control of the respondent.

It also asked for similar court directions to be given to the government of Delhi with respect to the State Litigation Policy, all of it to be done so on a time and a schedule that’s followed strictly as the respondents formulated.

Both petitioners, Dr. N Bhaskar Rao and Mr. Shanmuga Patro asked for the indulgence and intervention of the court on the alleged judicial delay as well as the huge arrears that the citizens of India have to face.

The petition stated that unless something changes, the entire system will be crushed eventually underneath its weight.

The plea also mentioned the Legal Affairs department launched the policy of National Litigation on the 23rd June 2010.

They stated that the 13th Finance Commission of 2010-2015 had created a condition for the States to formulate as well as implement the policy of State Litigation for them to receive any Central grants.

It was also added that the working group for the 12th 5-year plan of 2012-2017 of the Ministry of Law and Justice department of the Indian government had emphasised strictly on the NLP’s implementation as well.

The petition further mentioned that the Minister of Law at the Union level had directed several Ministries to finish reviewing any pending cases in the court and to hold Special Arrears Clearance drives.

The plea added that it’s imperative for any concerned Ministries or departments to be given top priority in order to review their pending cases in the court and hold Special Arrears Clearance drives.

It stated that the purpose behind the NLP’s formulation was to decrease government involvement in any frivolous litigation in matters where the stakes aren’t too high.

The petitioners also went on to mention that the policy’s purpose was also to save valuable court time in resolving these pending issues in order to enable the court case average pendency to be shortened from 15 years to 3 years.

The PIL alleged that the Centre, however, isn’t adhering to the very policy that they formulated.

They aren’t doing so uniformly nor are they doing it in totality and thus, creating grave injustice to all their poor citizens it claimed.

It finally noted that a recent highlight was also made by the learned Attorney General, the country’s highest law officer on the collective need for making efforts to reduce as much case burden on the courts in his Constitution Day’s speech of 2020 and this also supports both the petitioners, argument on the concerning matter.

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