Why do govts lie in courts: Delhi high court | India News

Why do govts lie in courts: Delhi high court | India News

NEW DELHI: Expressing dismay over governments raising “with impunity false claims and defences” in courts, the Delhi HC on Saturday said this was a matter of “grave concern”. Whenever a false claim is pressed by a government in court, it “causes immense injustice” to a litigant, it observed.
The HC’s anguish came while dealing with a batch of cases relating to a challenge by the government to compensation awarded by the Railways Claims Tribunal and false claims by Cement Corporation of India over a property it took on lease in Delhi.
The HC asked the Centre and Delhi government to frame a litigation policy that holds officers accountable for lapses in the handling of court cases.
“In all these cases, the government raised false claims/defences before this court which is a matter of grave concern. All these cases shocked the conscience of this court. It appears that the false claims are raised with impunity because there is no accountability of any government officer for raising the false claims and courts seldom take any action against the person concerned for raising false claims/defences,” Justice J R Midha said in a 31-page judgement.
The court said because of these false claims even the government suffers, but the concerned officer, who has raised the false claim, does not face any action. It said “if the facts provided by the officers are found to be false/incorrect by the court, the government shall consider taking action and the copy of the judgment will be kept in the ACR file of the officer. This will ensure the officer is held accountable for the actions taken by him in the court case.”
It cited the examples of Sikkim and Haryana saying they have litigation policies that brings more accountability. It said there is a need to incorporate similar rules by the central government as well as by the Delhi government.
“State of Sikkim has already framed the rules for holding its officers accountable for the lapses in the handling of the Court cases. There is a need to incorporate similar rules by the central government as well as by Delhi government,” the HC observed and added that “State of Haryana has framed State of Haryana Litigation Policy – 2010 to bring visible, enduring qualitative and quantitative improvement in the manner in which litigation is perceived, managed and conducted in the State.”
The Centre on its part informed the HC that there is no litigation policy of the government at present and that the National Litigation Policy, 2010 was never implemented.
The court then said that its directions to enforce accountability in government litigation “are in the nature of PIL (public interest litigation)” and listed the issue before the PIL bench.
It noted that as per Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS) – a wing of the central government for monitoring and handling of various court cases of government departments and ministries – 4,79,236 cases of government, 2,055 cases for compliance and 975 cases of contempt were pending as on June 8, 2021.
It noted that the finance ministry has the highest number of 1,17,808 cases, whereas Railways has second highest pendency with 99,030 cases.

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