All ministries should be on the same page and put up all arguments in a coherent manner to defend court cases, the Centre said today.
It has also been decided to designate one counsel for each ministry so that the legal cases are defended well.
The move comes after the government noticed in a few cases, the advice of the Department of Legal Affairs is contrary to the advice of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT)– government’s nodal authority for personnel matters.
In a directive issued to all ministries, the DoPT said in all the cases filed in tribunals or courts, the administrative ministry shall defend the government policy.
“While defending court cases, as far as possible the DoPT, Ministry of Law and line ministry or department should be on the same page and put up arguments on behalf of Union of India in a coherent manner and uphold the policy of the government applicable in the relevant case,” it said.
The ministry or department concerned must ensure that an officer of the level of Under Secretary or above is present in the court when important issues having policy issues or contempt petitions come up for hearing in the court, the order said.
“The Ministry of Law and Justice to designate a counsel for each Ministry so that the court cases are defended well,” it said. Also, wherever there is a case of delay, the administrative ministry may fix responsibility for the same, the DoPT said.
Various departments make references to the DoPT seeking advice regarding the course of action to be taken on the order of tribunal or courts.
Generally, if the directions of the tribunals or court is not in consonance with the policy of DoPT, the administrative ministry concerned is advised for filing an appeal or review in the High Court in consultation with the Department of Legal Affairs (DoLA).
“In a few of these cases, the advice of the Department of Legal Affairs (DoLA) is contrary to the advice of the DoPT.
Under such circumstances, the administrative ministries or departments make a second reference to DoPT and DoLA for resolving the matter,” the directive said.
The matter was examined and also discussed with DoLA, representatives of Department of Revenue, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, who have in the recent past made a few references of this type, it said.
In order to avoid second reference and to effectively deal with court cases, it has been decided to issue the directives, the DOPT said.