High court questions centre's litigation policy

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Old 18-Feb-2011
High court questions centre's litigation policy

Chandigarh February 18:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has questioned the implementation of the Centre's National Litigation Policy, which is aimed at reducing average time from 15 years to three years.

Maintaining that the so-called policy has remained "on papers" only, Justice LN Mittal has sought intervention of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and also of Union Ministry of Defence "to take some curative steps to avoid such frivolous and unnecessary litigation."

The observations came on a second appeal filed by the Union of India against Ripudaman Kaur in a property matter situated in Ferozepur Cantonment. The National Litigation Policy was framed under the National Legal Mission last year, with the sole aim of reducing the pedency of cases in the courts across India.

"Plaintiff Union of India having failed in both the courts below has filed the instant second appeal. The plaintiff alleged it is owner of the entire land of the Cantonment, including land underneath suit bungalow number 50. The history of the suit land has also been traced. Having been granted in the year 1891 to A Dinshaw, agreement dated July 30, 1891, was executed by him in favour of the plaintiff, admitting his ownership and agreeing to occupy the suit land," observed the Bench, in its detailed order dated February 8.

Stating that the Centre is "abusing the process of the court by not only filing the suit but also by filing first appeal and the instant second appeal," Justice LN Mittal said, "It is completely beyond comprehension as to how the plaintiff can start this second round of litigation, seeking declaration that the plaintiff is owner of the suit property, when the plaintiff's own case is that the defendant herein has already been held owner of the suit property in the previous litigation as held up to Supreme Court."

Justice Mittal said, "However, instant litigation demonstrates that the said litigation policy is only on papers. On the basis of averments by the plaintiff-appellant itself, it is clear enough that the instant suit filed by the appellant is patently barred by res judicata (a matter already judged), but in spite thereof, the plaintiff-appellant opted to file the suit and also then opted to file first appeal as well as the instant second appeal." Justice Mittal, finding no merit in the instant second appeal, dismissed the plea.

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