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Background of the National Litigation Policy


With an aim to reduce the burden of pending court cases in which the government is a party, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice approved the National Litigation Policy, which will now be sent to the Cabinet for approval.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background of the National Litigation Policy
  2. About the National Litigation Policy
  3. Significance of the National Litigation Policy

Background of the National Litigation Policy:

  • Current Scenario: Approximately 50 million legal cases are pending at various levels of the judiciary across India, making the government the country’s leading litigator.
    • For instance, the government accounts for 73% of all cases admitted by the Supreme Court.
  • Policy History:
    • Launched in 2010 to make the government a more “responsible litigant,” but was not implemented.
    • Revived by the NDA government in 2015. In 2021, the then-Law Minister mentioned in a reply to the Lok Sabha that the policy was under consideration.
    • Recently, the policy was approved by the Union Law Minister as part of the BJP’s 2024 Lok Sabha election manifesto.

About the National Litigation Policy:

  • Core Recognition: The government and its various agencies are the predominant litigants in Indian courts and tribunals.
  • Objective: Transform the government into an efficient and responsible litigant.
    • Efficient Litigant:
      • Represented by competent and sensitive legal professionals.
      • Focus on core issues and address them directly.
      • Manage and conduct litigation cohesively, in a coordinated and time-bound manner.
      • Ensure good cases are pursued and unnecessary cases are avoided.
    • Responsible Litigant:
      • Avoid false pleas and technical points.
      • Ensure correct facts and all relevant documents are presented to the court.
      • No attempt to mislead any court or tribunal.
      • Prioritize litigation with emphasis on welfare legislation, social reform, and support for weaker sections.
  • Policy Suggestions:
    • Review pending cases involving the government on a priority basis for quick disposal.
    • Implement a monitoring and review mechanism to sensitize the government on important cases and avoid delays.

Significance of the National Litigation Policy:

  • Primary Purpose: Reduce government litigation in courts, allowing valuable court time to be used for resolving other pending cases.
  • Judicial Efficiency: Aid in achieving the goal of the National Mission for Justice Delivery & Legal Reforms to reduce the average pendency time from 15 years to 3 years.
  • Government Responsibility:
    • Protect citizens’ rights and respect fundamental rights.
    • Ensure those handling government litigation adhere to the principle of transparency and accountability.

-Source: Indian Express

July 2024