Report No. 126
8.21. It is equally necessary in the larger national interest of reducing litigation and curbing litigative culture that a central body should be devised for having a continuous overview of the different bodies recommended herein. The role of this central body would be of a co-ordinating nature, of devising ways and means of reducing inter se litigations between Union and States, between States and States, between public sector undertakings inter se, between public sector undertakings and taxing authorities, and lastly between Government and public sector undertakings on one hand and citizens on the other.
This needs planning, strategy and effective implementation of policy decisions. It must be a body which can effectively curb the tendency to rush to the court or to rush to higher courts by preferring appeals. In fact, this body can effectively lay down ground rules which, when effectively followed, would make a direct dent on litigious tendencies. Such a body can be appropriately described as Federal Legal Cell composed of retired Judges, retired law officers, both Central and State, and senior executives who have worked in public sector undertakings.
The function and duties of the Federal Legal Cell can be extensively drawn up centering round policy and strategy planning with a view to reducing frequent resort to litigation. It can also work as a courier between the Executive and the Judiciary. The link till today is missing and is responsible for many ills which are otherwise curable. The Government of India should set up such Federal Legal Cell with appropriate terms of reference.
8.22. The multiplicity of litigation is not a matter of concern merely for Judiciary and Executive. That would be a narrow view of the matter. It is the concern of the Judiciary because its dockets have become unmanageable. It is equally the concern of the Executive because wasteful expenditure and avoidable misuse of the tune of the officers coupled with the tendency to avoid taking decisions deserves to be curbed. But the third limb of the constitutional democracy, namely, the Legislature, must have equal say in this matter.
Therefore, like the Public Accounts Committee, there should be a Parliamentary Committee on Litigation with power to inquire into every litigation taken by or on behalf of the Government to question the correctness of the decision with a view to pointing out that care should be taken in future not to resort to such litigation. Parliamentary Committee can every year seek detailed information on expenses incurred on litigation by Government, public sector undertakings, and Departments and instrumentalities of the Government, and take upon itself the inquisition of any particular litigation which was avoidable and yet resorted to.
It can inquire whether appeals are merely being preferred for extraneous and irrelevant considerations. This will introduce sufficient accountability of the officers in whom the decision-making power for initiating and continuing litigation vests. The composition of the Committee must be a matter of concern of the Parliament itself.
8.23. The Law Commission is of the firm view that if the various suggestions made in this Chapter are followed in letter and spirit, mass of litigation in which public sector undertakings and Government are involved can be successfully avoided, thereby reducing considerably the load on courts and on the justice system.
8.24. We recommend accordingly.
D. A. Desai,
V.S. Rama Devi,
Dated: 12th May, 1988.