Law ministry draws policy to withdraw 'frivolous' cases

India on 20 January 2015
Location : New Delhi, India | Source : Times of India. Image: Times of India

In an effort to bring down pendency of cases in courts, both the Centre and states have decided to withdraw 'frivolous and ineffective cases'. The law ministry has drawn a 10-point litigation policy and shared it with states while asking them to review all pending litigations. 

States and central government departments have been asked to set up empowered committees and review all pendency and suggest withdrawal of frivolous cases, particularly those of petty offences and traffic challans. 

To discourage future litigations, the government has decided to compulsorily introduce arbitration and mediation clauses in work contracts of its staff and public sector employees. The states have also been asked to encourage arbitration and mediation clauses in service contracts. 

Sources in the law ministry said the government has also written to chief justices of high courts to advise judges to invoke Section 258 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which relates to the 'power to stop proceedings and remove deadwood from judicial system' where it is necessary. 

All these guidelines are part of a national litigation policy drafted by the law ministry in consultation with states and high courts. "State governments have also framed state litigation policies through which they have committed a review of existing cases and wherever found necessary, frivolous and ineffective cases will be withdrawn," a source said. 

Some states have already set up empowered committees at state and district levels to identify cases which have become ineffective and infructuous with passage of time. For instance, Himachal Pradesh has framed guidelines for withdrawal of "stale" and "ineffective" criminal cases. 

The guidelines provide for detailed procedure for identifying and removing such cases from the judicial system. The Centre has also asked state governments to undertake a mission mode campaign for the reduction of litigation and to share details of reduction for the July-December 2014 period.

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