Will Government Listen To Advice Of President Of India Over Implementation Of Court Verdicts – Asks C. Srikumar, National Secretary Of AITUC

Law Ministry is reviewing the litigation system to collide Stakeholder opinions and reduce pendency of Government Lawsuits under a New National Litigation Policy


Arjun Ram Meghwal has taken over as the Law and Justice Ministry of the Union of India. According to media reports, he has begun a review of the litigation system in India to collide Stakeholder opinions and reduce pendency of Government Lawsuits under a New National Litigation Policy as his first task. The National Litigation policy will be one of the master plan of the Modi – “03” Cabinet for the first 100 days after coming in to power.

The National Litigation Policy 2010 was based on the fact and recognition that Government and its various agencies are the predominant litigants in Courts and Tribunals in the Country. The Central Government employees and their Unions are always having a complaint that the Government goes on filing appeals even in individual cases up to Supreme Court which the employee cannot afford.

Even the Judgements which are given by the High Courts and Supreme Court on service matters are implemented only for the petitioners and not for the similarly placed employees which ultimately force each and every employee to approach the Court of Law which is against the National Litigation Policy. The Central Government employees individually and through the National Council JCM are fighting for implementation of various Court Judgments on service matters to the similarly placed employees.
However, the authorities in the Government shows a deaf ear. Now that the Law Minister has announced to form a New Litigation Policy. C Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF states that in any Country Courts exist to do Justice, to guarantee various rights guaranteed in the Constitution, to resolve disputes, to maintain rule of law, to provide for equal protection and to ensure due process of Law. Statistics will reveal that thousands of Cases on Service matters filed by the Central Government employees and their Trade Unions are pending before the various Central Administrative Tribunals, High Courts & Supreme Court.

More than 90% of the Appeals against the Judgement of the Tribunals filed in the High Courts and Supreme Court are by the Government of India and these appeals are against their own employees who have to spend Lakh of Rupees for getting Justice on their service matters. The Government of India during the year 1985 establish the Central Administrative Tribunal under Article 323-A of the Constitution to deal exclusively with respect to disputes and complaints with regard to recruitment and conditions of service of Government employees. In the preamble of the Central Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 it is stated that setting up of such Administrative Tribunals would provide to the persons covered by the Administrative Tribunals speedy relief in respect of their Grievances.

However, the reality is that even if the employee gets a favourable Judgement he has to wait for 10 to 20 years for its implementation since the Government and its Departments take up the matter up to Supreme Court. The High Courts & Supreme Court have several time criticized the Government filing frivolous appeals against its own employees on service matters. Even the Departments go on filing appeal against those cases where the Law has been already established in service matters either by the High Court or the Supreme Court.

Most unfortunate part is that even after Supreme Court giving its verdict on common service matters, the Government is bent upon only to implement the judgement to the petitioners in the concerned judgement only to avoid contempt of Court. After this, all the similarly placed employees have to rush to the Tribunals or High Courts for getting the benefit of such Judgements extended to them.

One of the latest example is the Judgement of the Supreme Court to grant the Annual Increment Notionally to those Central Government Employees who retired from service after completing one year of service but retired on the last working day of June or December, since they were not in service on the 1st working day of July or January. Hundreds of Judgement have come in favour of the employees but all the departments in the Central Government employees is extending the benefits only to the petitioners in the matter and not for similarly placed employees despite the representations from the Staff Side National Council JCM. After the establishment of the CAT in 1985 more than Nine lakh cases were disposed by the Tribunals. Thousand of cases filed by Armed forces Personnel and Ex-Servicemen are pending in the Armed Forces Tribunal.

When Late Manohar Parrikar was the Defence Minister, he constituted a High Level Committee which recommended that in service matters appeal up to High Court is acceptable and beyond that filing appeals in the Supreme Court on service matters should be avoided and that once a Judgement is implemented to the Litigant/Petitioner the same should be extended to all similarly placed employees. However, these recommendations have never been implemented by the Government. This will show that how the Government Departments are not settling the service matter of the employees resulting in multiplicity of litigations.

To avoid conflict between the Central Government employees and the Government of India as employer with regard to service matters and also to maintain harmonious relation in the year 1966 the scheme of Joint Consultative Machinery and Compulsory Arbitration was setup by the Government. The scheme is expected to function effectively and to meet as often as required and to sort out all service related matters and where ever there is disagreement between the Staff side and the Official side such issues will be referred to the Board of Arbitration for finalization.

In the year 2026, the JCM scheme will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee. In the initial years, the JCM scheme was very effective and majority of the issues relating to service matters were settled through mutual discussions or through the Board of Arbitration. Unfortunately, for the past more than two decades, the JCM scheme has become defunct, issues are remaining unsettled for years together and even the Awards of the Board of Arbitration are also not implemented for decades together. This prompts the employees to approach Court of Law for getting justice defeating the sole purpose of setting up of the JCM scheme.

In one of the famous Judgement of the Supreme Court Justice V R Krishna Iyer stated that “in this Country the State is the largest litigant today and the huge expenditure involved makes a big draft on the public exchequer. It is not right for a welfare State like ours to be Janus-faced and while formulating the humanist project of legal aid to the poor, context the claims of the poor employees under it pleading limitation and the like”.

Last year, President Droupadi Murmu had called on the government and judiciary to ensure that court verdicts are implemented in a timely manner so that people are not deprived of justice in its true sense.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, veteran trade union leader and National Secretary Of AITUC

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